The foundations of the universalist tradition in color-naming research (and their supposed refutation

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 28 (2):179-204 (1998)
Abstract
In Basic Color Terms, Berlin and Kay argued for a restricted number of "basic" color words—words they claimed to be culturally universal. This claim about language was buttressed by psychologist Eleanor Rosch's famous work on color prototypes. Together, the works of Berlin and Kay and Rosch are the foundation for a contemporary research tradition investigating the biological foundations of color naming. In this article, the author describes some common objections to the works of Berlin and Kay and Rosch and argues that they are not significant. The claim that explanations of color naming ought to be strictly cultural also is discussed and rejected.
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