Sensations as colour bearers

Neither objects nor lights are actually "colored" in anything like the way we experience them. Rather, color is a psychological property of our visual experiences when we look at objects or lights, not a physical property of those objects or lights. {Palmer, Stephen E., Vision Science: Photons to Phenomenology. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1999, p. 95).

The computational feat achieved by our nervous system in endowing us with a richly colored world is not evident from the apparent simplicity of our color sensations.Objects themselves are not colored, nor are the wavelengths they reflect. Color is a product of our nervous system where lights of different wavelengths evoke different sensations. (Heywood C.A. and R.W. Kentridge, "Achromatopsia, color vision, and cortex", Neurological Clinics of North America 21(2003), 483-500, p. 484.)

It might or might not prove in the end logically possible to escape from dualism without giving up realism; but there were at least strong reasons for wishing to escape from  it. ... Its theory of knowledge granted you no access to the reality in which you believed and about which desired to  know. The craving to  possess your object, to meet it face to face, instead of being limited to reports from it given by deputies whose credentials were perhaps dubious, had not been effectually extirpated from the human mind by the causeof reflection which had led to dualism. To think dualistically all the time puts, at the least, a considerable strain upon the human mind;and it was natural to seek relief from that strain. (Lovejoy, Arthur O.,The Revolt Against Dualism: An  Inquiry Concerning the Existence of Ideas.. Chicago: Open Court, c.1930, p. xx.)


Representation BY Colours, not Representation OF Colours


This site is for anyone who has an interest in the family of perceptual theories which fall under the loosely understood heading of Sense Datum Theories.

Those who profess themselves to be sense datum theorists, as few as they are, differ widely in the details and scope of their positions. Some say that sense data are non-physical, others that tthey are physical, and yet other that they are neither or both. Some link core sense datum accounts of perception with foundationalist normative epistemologies, perhaps even 'The Myth of the Given"; others don't. It's possible that some sense datum theorists disagree with each other more intensely than they disagree with those who are not sense datum theorists.

I hope that this site can be of interest to all of the above. However, I want to give some prominence in the materials of the site to the scientific motivations for adopting some or other version of sense datum theory. For example, as the above heading, "Sensations as Colour Bearers", suggests, I shall give some prominence to arguments that there are no (phenomenal) colours in external bodies and they are better understood to be in or at the brain.