[hist-analytic] Question for Bruce on

Baynesr at comcast.net Baynesr at comcast.net
Sat Nov 7 17:08:20 EST 2009


In all fairness to Bruce, he has said this much at least in 

reply to Roger: 

'"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." 

I'm afraid making it a postulate does not suffice to refute the 

rationalist. A postulate is just that: something we postulate, and 

even if  we all "conceive" of color this way, this does not 

address the relevant question of its analyticity. I may may only be able 

to conceive of a cause that precedes its effect; I may go on 

to construct a "meaning postulate" which within some constructional 

system renders the judgment analytic. But this is an unsatisfactory 

answer to the question whether it is a  synthetic a priori judgment 

that one thing can't have two colors all over. There is no need for 

such a postulate, unless it is license describing the judgment as analytic. 

The approach is not altogether unKantian. 

Kant introduced a set of Categories of the Understanding. These 

essentially guarantee syntheticity of a priori judgments relating 

concepts we do not acquire by experience. Some have thought it 

ad hoc; but it is no more ad hoc, I don't believe, than introducing 

a meaning postulate and declaring "victory." No, the issue is much 

richer, I think. 

We'll see. I'm finishing up some of the logical details of Putnam. 

At least Bruce has one postulate; Putnam has a flack jacket 

made up of "postulates" (with a couple more in his back pocket). 



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Ron Barnette" <rbarnett at valdosta.edu> 
To: Baynesr at comcast.net, "hist-analytic" <hist-analytic at simplelists.co.uk> 
Sent: Saturday, November 7, 2009 1:18:15 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern 
Subject: RE: Question for Bruce on 

Hi Steve, 

I’ve been following this discussion, and wondered the same things that you asked! Thanks for posting the questions. While not a fan of qualia (as you might have guessed from earlier communication a la Dennett), the question of what is color seems quite apt in the context of clarification on your current discussion. 


Ron Barnette 

From: hist-analytic-manager at simplelists.com [mailto:hist-analytic-manager at simplelists.com] On Behalf Of Baynesr at comcast.net 
Sent: Saturday, November 07, 2009 11:11 AM 
To: hist-analytic 
Subject: Question for Bruce on 


In responding to your position on the "two color problem" I need to know 

what you mean by a "determinate color," which is at the heart of your 


Also, what do you take a color to be. If you mean a qualia or some such 

that is one thing; if you mean something like "that property which causes 

an object to be seen as (e.g.) yellow under standard circumstances" that 

is VERY different. We are talking about one thing being two colors 

all over. So what is a color on your view. That is essential to where 

I go from here. Also, the business about determinate  colors. I don't think 

there are any, but you appear to. What are they? 


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