• 2016-06-29
  • 3:AM Magazine

Jonathan Cohen is the philosopher elaborating and defending a relationalist account of color properties, a view on which colors are constituted in terms of a relation between perceiving subjects and objects. He also thinks about interactions between and within perceptual modalities, and the implications of such interactions for our understanding of a range of issues including perceptual architecture, synesthesia, modularity, and sensory substitution. In language, he works on the semantics and pragmatics of context-sensitive expressions (i.e., expressions such as ‘I’ or ‘this’ that express different things depending on the contexts in which they are uttered), and on extrasemantic expansion (i.e., the ways in which we use words to convey more than what they literally mean, such as when we say ‘Jonathan ate some of the cookies’ and convey that Jonathan didn’t eat all the cookies, or when we ask ‘can you pass the salt?’ to convey a request that our hearer should pass the salt). Here he takes us through those ideas about colour and the rivals, the influence CL Hardin, eliminativism, realism, introspection, differences between audition and vision, self-location, functionalism, special laws of nature for the working of the mind, his better best system, computational modelling of the mind, the puzzling duality of perceptual system response and how to understand the place of philosophy in the interdisciplinary work of philosophy of mind. This one eats all the cookies, and then some….