Colour variation is the fact that what colour physical objects look to have depends on viewing conditions and a perceiver’s visual system. Both Colour Relationalists and Colour Eliminativists regard their analyses of colour variation as central to the justification for their respective views. Yet the analyses are decidedly different. Colour Relationalists assert that most instances of colour variation are veridical and infer from this that colours are relational properties of objects that are partly determined by perceivers. By contrast, Colour Eliminativists assert that colour variation is too unsystematic to ground the claim that many or most instances of colour variation are veridical. From this they infer that objects don’t have colours. I argue that the Eliminativist analysis is superior. On my view, the Relationalist account of veridical colour experience reduces to the assertion that objects have colour simply because they cause perceivers to have colour experiences of them. In this context, I argue, the resulting conception of veridicality is vacuous. More directly, the foundational idea of Eliminativism is the opposite claim: the fact that objects cause perceivers to have colour experiences of them is on its own not sufficient to justify or ground the claim that objects have colour. The Relationalist, I argue, has failed to justify anything stronger than this. In this debate we should thus side with the Eliminativist: objects do not possess colour; they merely cause us to undergo colour experiences.
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