[hist-analytic] The Two Color Problem, Putnam, and the Synthetic A Priori

Bruce Aune aune1 at verizon.net
Thu Nov 5 07:09:37 EST 2009

Mea culpa, mea culpa.  Roger is right about my definition.  I intended  
it as providing only some useful terminology, but I see, now that  
Roger has pointed it out, that my functor "DC(x,t)" does denote a  
function, i.e. has a unique value.  So my definition is, as Roger  
says, a substantive principle.  But I contend that it is analytically  
true just the same.  Like the principle DD it amounts to a meaning  
postulate, something true by virtue of the meaning of "A is a  
determinate color."  As we (all normal speakers of English) conceive  
of colors, if a thing has a color in a certain region at a certain  
time (if it is not invisible there and then, for example), it has just  
one color there and then.  (The qualification about the region where  
the color exists was something I explicitly mentioned in the text and  
presupposed in my argument.)  My principle DD just gives expression to  
the fact that determinate colors are distinguishable just when they  
are distinct.  So the color-incompatibility (or CI) principle, as it  
might be called, is true by virtue of the meaning; it is like the  
principle, "A fake duck is not a real one." One COULD speak of a  
"color" for which the CI principle failed, but one would be using the  
word "color" in a deviant way that one would have to explain. It would  
not have the meaning presupposed by rationalists who insist that the  
principle is true.  Rationalists are wrong if they thing that generic  
colors are incompatible--as I point out, they are simply careless in  
saying this--but they are right when they say this of determinate (non- 
generic colors), though they are wrong about how they know they are  

My thanks to Roger.

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