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The power of color

Marmodoro, Anna; Grasso, Matteo

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Matteo Grasso


Are colors features of objects “out there in the world” or are they features of our inner experience and only “in our head?” Color perception has been the focus of extensive philosophical and scientific debate. In this paper we discuss the limitations of the view that Chalmers’ (2006) has characterized as Primitivism, and we develop Marmodoro’s (2006) Constitutionalism further, to provide a metaphysical account of color perception in terms of causal powers. The result is Power-based Constitutionalism, the view that colors are (multi-track and multi-stage) powers of objects, whose (full) manifestations depend on the mutual manifestation of relevant powers of perceivers and the perceived objects being co-realized in mutual interaction. After a presentation of the tenets of Power-based Constitutionalism, we evaluate its strengths in contrast to two other recent power-based accounts: John Heil’s (2003, 2012) powerful qualities view and Max Kistler’s (2017) multi-track view.


Marmodoro, A., & Grasso, M. (2020). The power of color. American Philosophical Quarterly, 57(1), 65-78

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 30, 2018
Online Publication Date Jan 1, 2020
Publication Date Jan 1, 2020
Deposit Date Oct 24, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jan 1, 2021
Journal American Philosophical Quarterly
Print ISSN 0003-0481
Electronic ISSN 2152-1123
Publisher University of Illinois Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 57
Issue 1
Pages 65-78
Publisher URL


Accepted Journal Article (418 Kb)

Copyright Statement
From American phiosophical quarterly. Copyright 2019 of the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

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