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Democritus’ Theory of Colour

Rudolph, Kelli (2020) Democritus’ Theory of Colour. Rhizomata, 7 (2). pp. 269-305. ISSN 2196-5110. (doi:10.1515/rhiz-2019-0012) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:75553)

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https://doi.org/10.1515/rhiz-2019-0012

Abstract

I argue that Democritus presents a theory of colour in which the predominance of atomic shapes and microstructural arrangements are necessary but not sufficient for colour vision. Focusing primarily on Democritus’ basic colours, I analyse his microstructural account, providing a new analysis of the natural and technological underpinnings of his method of explanation. I argue that the notion of predominance allows Democritus to account for both the variation and the repeatable correspondence of colour perception by setting limits on possible microstructures. This account, however, is complicated by the evidence for a Democritean theory of colour transformation and distorted vision, which arise from a dynamic interplay of features at the level of microstructures and at the level of perception.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1515/rhiz-2019-0012
Uncontrolled keywords: Democritus, Colour, Ancient, Greek, Presocratic, Vision, Senses, Sensation, Phantasia, White, Black, Red, Green, Abdera
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
D History General and Old World > DE The Greco-Roman World
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > Classical and Archaeological Studies
Depositing User: Kelli Rudolph
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2019 08:40 UTC
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2020 11:27 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/75553 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Rudolph, Kelli: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0008-7818
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