Croatian Journal of Philosophy

Volume 12, Issue 3, 2012

Nenad Miščević
Pages 489-507

Semantic Realism οr Response-Intentionalism?

Matthen’s semantic theory of color is compared and contrasted with a variety of dispositionalism, to be called response-intentionalism (since it claims that color is a disposition to produce intentional states involving color-looks. First, it is argued that the two theories are not so far from each other; Matthen might be a closed dispositionalist, since he does stress the causal power of surfaces to produce color representations (signs). Next, the pragmatist component of his theory is addressed. Can usefulness unify color? It seems that some degree of unity is required for a plurality of things to be treated as a group useful in a specifi c way: existence is prior to usefulness, not the other way around. Finally, the dispositionalism (including response-intentionalism) is defended against Mohan’s epistemological objection, according to which the dispositionalist cannot account for a priori nature of one’s knowledge of color looks; it is argued that it can, and that it can even use roughly the same means as semantic realism.