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Proceedings Paper

The nature of colors
Author(s): Osvaldo da Pos
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Paper Abstract

Color is a visible aspect of objects and lights, and as such is an objective characteristic of our phenomenal world. Correspondingly also objects and lights are objective, although their subjectivity cannot be disregarded since they belong to our phenomenal world. The distinction between perception and sensation deals with colors seen either in complex displays or in isolation. Reality of colors is apparently challenged by virtual reality, while virtual reality is a good example of what colors are. It seems difficult to combine that aspect of reality colors have in our experience and the concept that colors represent something in the external environment: the distinction between stimulation and perceived object is crucial for understanding the relationships between phenomenal world and physical reality. A modern concept of isomorphism seems useful in interpreting the role of colors. The relationship between the psychological structure of colors and the physical stimulation is enlightened by the analysis of pseudocolors. The perceptual, subjective characteristics of colors go along with the subjectivity of scientific concepts. Colors, emotions, and concepts are all in some people's mind: none of them is independent of the subject mind. Nevertheless they can be communicated from person to person by an appropriate scientific terminology.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 June 2002
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 4421, 9th Congress of the International Colour Association, (6 June 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.464722
Show Author Affiliations
Osvaldo da Pos, Univ. of Padua (Italy)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4421:
9th Congress of the International Colour Association

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