The Philosopher and the Rainbow: Why Philosophers are Fascinated with Colors and Color Perception


Program Description:

Colors are extraordinary because they are at once utterly familiar and yet quite mysterious. We think we know exactly what colors are, that all we have to do is look to see and know them, and yet they raise deep philosophical perplexities. For example, is color in the object, or in the mind? Can I know what your color experience is like, or what it's like to see ultraviolet or infrared as colors, as some animals can? Philosophical puzzles about colors have interesting implications for the nature of mind and consciousness. While some think that science can answer all the questions we might have about colors, many color scientists themselves believe that there is something irreducibly subjective about the experience of color. The presentation will include visual displays of some fascinating and puzzling color phenomena.


Timm Triplett

Associate Professor of Philosophy. Has published articles on a number of topics, including the theory of knowledge, color perception, relativism, and metaphilosophy. Currently working on a book defending universal morality against its critics.

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