This module introduces students to philosophical puzzles about colour: How does the language we speak affect the way we perceive colour? How do colours fit into the natural world—are they simply wavelengths of light? If so, why do we describe objects as having colours that remain constant in different lighting conditions? Does the fact that people disagree in the way they classify certain colours mean that there is no objective answer to the question what colour something is? Is “spectrum inversion” possible? That is, is it possible for something to be red for you, and green for me? How could we tell if that was the case? Exploring the questions raised in this module will take us into debates in philosophy of language, theory of perception, metaphysics, cognitive science, and history. You will learn to use theoretical tools involved in the interdisciplinary study of colour. We will read work by Daniel Dennett, William Gladstone, C.L. Hardin, Frank Jackson, Hans Reichenbach, Debi Roberson, Eleanor Rosch, Moritz Schlick, and others.

Term(s) offered: Autumn term module; 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Credit: 1.5
General Education: [None]