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Color for Philosophers: Unweaving the Rainbow by C. L. Hardin

By C. L. Hardin

This booklet is presented the 1986 Johnsonian Prize in Philosophy. This elevated version of C. L. Hardin's ground-breaking paintings on color incorporates a new bankruptcy, 'Further options: 1993', within which the writer revisits the dispute among color objectivists and subjectivists from the point of view of the ecology, genetics, and evolution of color imaginative and prescient, and brings to undergo new information on person variability in color notion.

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Extra info for Color for Philosophers: Unweaving the Rainbow

Example text

The distinction between unique and binary hues in the Hering theory proves not to rest on some accident of description or parochial feature of European languages, but rather to pick out a fundamental functional feature of the visual system which is reflected quite generally in color-classifying behavior and linguistic practices . The relationship between the functional configuration and 40 THE STRUCTURE OF PHENOMENAL HUES color language will receive detailed attention later. Let us now look at some of the behavioral evidence that shows the natural primacy of the unique hues .

Nevertheless, the wavelengths from 650 to 700 nm are virtually indistinguishable and are perceived as containing only a small amount of yellowness, so 650 nm can serve as a unique-red setting for the cancellation experiments with only a small error. Once the unique hue settings are established, a set of wavelengths spanning the spectrum at 10 nm intervals is specified, and they are dialed up on the instrument in turn. Suppose that one of these is 600 nm . For normal observers at moderate light intensities, this will be perceived as a reddish orange, which, in unique-hue terms, is a yel­ lowish red.

If that is blue, it fills in blue; if it is plaid, we are aware of no discontinuity in the expanse of plaid. Stabilized images are only one demonstration of the dominance of change over uniformity in the visual field. That dominance may also be seen in the so-called ganzfeld phenomenon, in which the visual field is made perfectly uniform, as it is when a subject's eyes are cov­ ered with the two halves of a ping-pong ball and the room is filled with a diffuse, shadow less colored light, pink for example.

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