Cloven Tongues of Fire
This introductory chapter sketches the early nineteenth century roots of American color science, beginning with the work of the American researcher, Joseph Henry. Henry was an exponent of “common sense philosophy” – a ubiquitous worldview in American science in which sensations of colors were taken to be objective manifestations of the physical world. In the middle of the nineteenth century, Henry’s philosophy was challenged by the emergence new sciences which held colors to be subjective manifestations of human psychology and physiology. These new color ontologies suggested radical new definitions of matters of fact – and, therefore, of matters of science, morality, politics, and aesthetic awareness.
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