Light and Color from a Philosophical Point of View


Theda Rehbock


Dresden Technical University



Abstract. Light and color are familiar basic traits of the visible world. The article discusses the problems which arise if we expect more from the sciences than a variety of information about particular conditions and aspects of light and color, i.e. if we expect an answer to the philosophical question: what are light and color? In trying to answer this question, science turns light and color into an insoluble riddle. This riddle cannot be solved unless scientific realism is subjected to a philosophical critique returning to the reality of the ‘Lebenswelt’ (E. Husserl) from which the meaning of scientific concepts and theories originates. This critical reflection would help philosophy preserve the primary reality of light and color in its irreducible totality for human experience.