Is Color Experience Cognitively Penetrable?

Berit Brogaard, Dimitria E. Gatzia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Is color experience cognitively penetrable? Some philosophers have recently argued that it is. In this paper, we take issue with the claim that color experience is cognitively penetrable. We argue that the notion of cognitive penetration that has recently dominated the literature is flawed since it fails to distinguish between the modulation of perceptual content by non-perceptual principles and genuine cognitive penetration. We use this distinction to show that studies suggesting that color experience can be modulated by factors of the cognitive system do not establish that color experience is cognitively penetrable. Additionally, we argue that even if color experience turns out to be modulated by color-related beliefs and knowledge beyond non-perceptual principles, it does not follow that color experience is cognitively penetrable since the experiences of determinate hues involve post-perceptual processes. We conclude with a brief discussion of the implications that these ideas may have on debates in philosophy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-214
Number of pages22
JournalTopics in Cognitive Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Cognitive penetrability
  • Color experience
  • Epistemic appearances
  • Perceptual modularity
  • Phenomenal dogmatism
  • Post-perceptual processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence


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