The Essence (?) of Color, According to Wittgenstein

Ondrej Beran


Wittgenstein’s view on the problem of what “essences” are can be demonstrated on the
example of colors. His interest shifts from the question whether ascriptions of color
are elementary to the description of the whole variety of the use of color names and
ascriptions, via considerations about regular (phenomenological, that is:
grammatical) laws of what is possible for (i.e. meaningful to say about) colors. The
essence of color, if any, the only universal standing for the variety of color
phenomena lies in the unity of the word (in this sense, Wittgenstein is a sort of
nominalist), but the nature of this unity cannot and is not to be further


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; colour; incompatibility; phenomenology; relativism; variety

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