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Seeing Dark ThingsThe Philosophy of Shadows$
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Roy Sorensen

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195326574

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326574.001.0001

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Goethe's Colored Shadows

Goethe's Colored Shadows

(p.153) 8 Goethe's Colored Shadows
Seeing Dark Things

Roy Sorensen (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Newton says shadows are mere absences of light. Since the visual response to a lack of stimulation is black, all shadows would then be black. In his attack on Newton's optics, Goethe drew attention to subtle conditions under which there appear to be blue shadows. According to Goethe, all hues are colored shadows. Later, color scientists, most famously Edwin Land (founder of the Polaroid Corporation), appear to produce shadows of virtually every hue. Most contemporary color scientists inconsistently accept both Newton's account of light and standard, textbook demonstrations of colored shadows. They should regain consistency by distinguishing between shadows and "filtows."

Keywords:   colored shadows, Goethe, Newton, Newton

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