Basic color terms do not refer to basic colors

Rivista di Estetica 43 (1):125-145 (2010)
A widely held view on color cognition is that it is structured by a set of color fundamentals. Three sorts of evidence may be invoked in favor of such a ‘foundational’ approach to color cognition: physiological, phenomenal and lexical. This paper focuses on the lexical evidence, which draws from a predominant view in color categorization, the Basic color terms theory (BCTT). It argues that the BCTT does not consist in a foundational approach to color cognition and does not provide such evidence.
Keywords Color  Primary colors  Basic categories  Perception  Language
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Mohan Matthen (2010). Color Experience: A Semantic Theory. In Jonathan Cohen & Mohan Matthen (eds.), Color Ontology and Color Science. MIT Press 67--90.
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