Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Color: empirical and philosophical views

A symposium on the epistemology of color and light was organized at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture on 8th of May, 2012. The event marked the publication of the book Colour and Light – Concepts and Confusions, edited by Harald Arnkil, Karin Fridell Anter and Ulf Klarén and published by Aalto University. The book reports results from a Nordic research project called SYN-TES. Karin Fridell Anter introduced also the SYN-TES Nordic Colour and Light Interdisciplinary Network.

In the event, the researchers of the SYN-TES project, Karin Fridell Anter and Harald Arnkil, described the results of the project and the newly published book. A related PhD course entitled "Nordic Light and Colours" was organized in Trondheim, Norway, 16-22 April, 2012.

Harald Arnkil told that they were pleased and proud to have prof. C.L.Hardin to write the introduction to the book. Arnkil discussed the contents of the book. He told that the team had intensive discussions on basic questions such as what it means to see.

Prof. Hardin is famous as the author of the book Color for Philosophers: Unweaving the Rainbow (1988). The book is a great example of the empirical turn in philosophy: color is not only discussed as an autonomous philosophical question but results in different sciences including physics and psychology are reported in detail and the implications of empirical research results are carefully analyzed and discussed.

In his presentation, Hardin referred to the assumption of ideal viewing conditions as a philosophical fairytale and emphasized the contextuality of color perception. This is true even in the case of standard viewing booths. There is also subjective variability among the observers for which he gave a number of detailed examples, based on careful experimental research efforts. Hardin summarized that color perception is a function of viewing conditions and observers.

Hardin's comment also serves perfectly as a motivation for the GICA (Grounded Intersubjective Concept Analysis) where the meaning of any object (word, sign, image) is analyzed both from different contextual and subjective point of views.

Post scriptum: Antti Raike and social media are to be thanked for receiving information on this event. Ulf Klarén is to be thanked for the photograph (the background of which is slightly manipulated).

No comments: