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The Republic of ColorScience, Perception, and the Making of Modern America$
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Michael Rossi

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226651729

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226651866.001.0001

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The Pragmatic Physiology of Color Vision

The Pragmatic Physiology of Color Vision

Christine Ladd-Franklin and the “Evolutionary Theory” of Color

(p.146) Chapter Five The Pragmatic Physiology of Color Vision
The Republic of Color

Michael Rossi

University of Chicago Press

This chapter looks at psychologist Christine Ladd-Franklin’s “evolutionary” or “development” theory of color perception, which attempted to reconcile two competing theories of color physiology: the “trichromatic” theory of Herman von Helmholtz, and the “opponent color” theory of Ewald Hering. At once a sophisticated and pragmatic solution to a scientific problem, and a radical articulation of the role of science in society, Ladd-Franklin’s theory demonstrates the moral exigencies of sciences of perception in turn-of-the-century America.

Keywords:   Christine Ladd-Franklin, evolutionary theory of color, development theory of color, logic, morality, gender, geminism

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