Volume 5, Issue 1, 2013
On Relationist Ontology of Color
This paper critically discusses role functionalism about color and suggests that it is not such a sui generis position as it is often considered to be. The discussion
focuses upon one, hopefully, central point. The main proponent of the idea of role functionalism is Jonathan Cohen who in his book The Red and the Real (2009)
suggests a Refined Taxonomy of positions on color ontology. Namely, his proposal implies that color ontology should be divided into relationalist and non-relationalist accounts. Generally, he endorses the relationalist theory of color which roughly claims that colors are constituted in terms of some relation between objects and subjects (inter alia). Specifically, Cohen defends Role Functionalism as the best version of relationalism according to which the relations that constitute colors are functional relations. Based on his role functionalist stance, he distances himself from dispositionalists. However, in this paper I show that he could be interpreted as one and therefore needs to reconsider his Refined Taxonomy of positions on color ontology.