Wittgenstein on Colors and Internal Relations, 1930–1932

Andreas Blank


Colors play a major role in Wittgenstein’s notebooks of his transitional period, roughly between 1930 and 1932. While his views on color in the last years of his life have found widespread attention among his commentators, little work has been done on his views on color in the early 30s. The present paper has the aim of bringing some light into both the details and the overall strategy of what Wittgenstein, in the early 30s, has to say about color. In particular, I will highlight the connection between the concepts of color, color representation, and internal relation. According to Wittgenstein, whereas external relations such as causal relations may or may not hold between given relata, internal relations are such that, once their relata are given, it is unthinkable that they do not hold. The concept of internal relation plays a crucial role in Wittgenstein’s early views on meaning. In the early 30s, Wittgenstein applies this concept to the relation between color representations and colors, as well as to the relations of mixture, sameness, and dissimilarity holding between colors.


20th century philosophy; logic; philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; aspect seeing; color representation; color space; intermediary color; logical form; logical multiplicity; pure color; seeing as

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