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Title: Looking at colour : a philosophical exposition
Author: Mertens, Kerstin
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1998
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This dissertation consists of two parts. Part I examines three historical attempts at explaining colour on the basis of Goethe's Farbenlehre. Schopenhauer, Hegel and Wittgenstein each give successful explanations of some but not all colour phenomena. As they succeed and fail in the same areas in which more recent subjectivist and objectivist accounts succeed and fail it must be concluded that the nature of colour does not allow for reduction to subjective states of mind or to objective physical processes. Part II examines colour itself: The first three chapters establish internal colour relations. Colour language and colour blindness re-introduce the human subject whose importance is most evident in the contemplation of paintings. As paintings cannot only represent three dimensional objects but can also evoke feelings through mere colour effects, colour is an important medium for the communication of subjectivity and ideality. The conclusion is twofold. First, we have to strictly differentiate between the ontology and epistemology of colour: Colour exists objectively and hence independently of observers, but internal colour relations are nevertheless determined by human thought. Secondly, colour is irreducible: although science can explain most of its aspects the nature of colour itself can only be understood through the irreducible variety of colour effects.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available