Volume 12, Issue 3, 2012
Color Terms and Semantic Externalism
The paper discusses whether the color terms should be given an externalist semantics. In the literature on the semantics of color terms externalism is standardly taken for granted, and Twin Earth style arguments play a central role. This is notable given that few people would claim that semantic externalism applies across the board, to all types of terms. Why, then, should the color terms belong with this group of terms? I argue that the standard externalist strategies, introduced by Tyler Burge and Hilary Putnam, do not apply to these terms: The color terms do not function like natural kind terms, and the idea of semantic reliance on others does not apply to them. I conclude that the externalist arguments fail and that a version of internalism, more properly called ‘individualism’,
applies to the color terms.