Science and Philosophy of Color in the Modern Age

In Anders Steinvall & Sarah Streets (eds.), Cultural History of Color in the Modern Age. Bloomsbury. pp. 21-38 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The study of color expanded rapidly in the 20th century. With this expansion came fragmentation, as philosophers, physicists, physiologists, psychologists, and others explored the subject in vastly different ways. There are at least two ways in which the study of color became contentious. The first was with regard to the definitional question: what is color? The second was with the location question: are colors inside the head or out in the world? In this chapter, we summarize the most prominent answers that color scientists and philosophers gave to the definitional and location questions in the 20th century. We identify some of the different points at which their work intersected, as well as the most prominent schisms between them. One overarching theme of the chapter is the surprising proliferation of different views on color. Whereas some assume that progress in science must take the form of convergence, the 20th century history of color exhibited a marked divergence in views. This chapter leaves it an open question whether an ultimate unification of views is possible, or whether the only thing that ties together the study of “color” is the shared inheritance of a word.



External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library


Added to PP

408 (#52,466)

6 months
139 (#32,758)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Jacob Browning
New York University
Zed Adams
The New School

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Principia ethica.George Edward Moore - 1903 - Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications. Edited by Thomas Baldwin.
Science, Perception and Reality.Wilfrid Sellars (ed.) - 1963 - New York,: Humanities Press.
Epiphenomenal qualia.Frank Jackson - 1982 - Philosophical Quarterly 32 (April):127-136.

View all 32 references / Add more references