'RED EXISTS' REVISITED

We here offer our own an analysis of the rogue sentence "Red exists", going some way down W.'s path, but incorporating the attitude of the second interlocutor, "metaphysics" and all. We go beyond language and human communal behaviour, to incorporate the colour in the world, independent of our language. This require that we use our imagination to step outside our world, and our language. It is very close to the limits of language. In brief, alluding to W.'s first artificial language game, we want to refer to the thing to which 'slab' refers - not just to the word, and not just to what happens when the supervisor says "Slab!".

Consider - imagine - some relatively basic (relatively atomicx) property of objects in our world: a colour.  This is what W.'s sophisticated interlocutor calls 'red existing in its own right'; it is the metaphysical statement that he is determined to resist, but we choose to accept - while agreeing that it is at the limits of language. We could call the word that refers to it a 'name': 'red'. The word is then used, in combination with others such as 'slab', to describe other things in the world by forming molecularx terms: 'Red slab!'. Ultimately we can't explain or define what 'red' means using other words - we just have to point to pictures in a child's book; the meaning of 'red' is ultimately explained ostensively. Suppose that in another world this property did not exist, never had existed, therefore was not remembered, and could not be imagined. Then there would not be, and could not be, a word in any LG in that world, referring to it. Suppose that this missing property is the one which, in our world, is labelled 'red'- the one which the slab which you bring to me has if I say "Red slab!".  If, for some odd reason, the same word 'red' existed on this other world, it would be just hot air - like me saying, on our world: "Gibble slab!". The people on this other world don't say, mournfully: "Ah, yes, red - that doesn't exist on our world. What a pity!". They can't make this move in their language game, they can't use their language as an instrument in this way to deal with their world, because the word 'red' is not an instrument available to them in their LG; it is not a part of their LG's setting up. It can't be a part, because on this other world people do not have a paradigm (sample) to act as an instrument in the setting-up stage of that part of their language.

This is all perfectly unproblematic. Philosophical bewitchment occurs if we simultaneously pretend that we are, and are not, in this other world. We are in it in the sense that we are considering whether red exists or not; we are considering the possibility that we are in a world where it does not. But we are not on it in the sense that we clearly have the idea of red, the word 'red' has meaning for us, and therefore a sample of the world with a certain colour has existed. Otherwise we could not be meaningfully asking whether it exists.

Perhaps the best way to visualise the philosopher's error is to imagine that she has detached herself from both worlds, and is floating above them, looking down. It is Ernest Nagel's View From Nowhere. But she has taken with her the experiences, the linguistic setting-up, and the complete language, of the Earth. What appears to be a proof that redness must exist, is no more than a proof that it existed on her home planet.