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Theory of Colours Paperback – January 1, 1989


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Paperback, January 1, 1989


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 423 pages
  • Publisher: MIT Press (1989)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000TV9XZ8
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,391,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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126 of 134 people found the following review helpful By Frank Bierbrauer on August 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, probably the greatest of Germany's poets, was also an avid amateur scientist and displayed through his careful observations and his keen, what might now be called phenomenological, mind an ability to discern the depth of the phenomenon in question, in this case the origin of colours. In direct contradiction to Newton whose theory of colour formation, based on his earlier prism experiments and their interpretation, was the accepted theory of the time in all scientific circles and laymen alike, with one exception, that of painting and artistic use of colour.
Goethe, being fascinated by the colours generated from the prism conducted his own investigations and found to his great surprise that Newton's theory was, if not incorrect, but rather mechanical in nature and based on an "interpretation" of the phenomenon rather than the truth as it stands. Goethe through his investigations into natural phenomena gave rise to the idea of the archetypal phenomenon or Ur-phenomenon, in this case meaning the movement or active form present in the phenomenon which gives it its character rather than some static image such as a Darwinian ancestor. Goethe noted that it is possible to actually experience the fullness of the phenomenon ie the coming into being of the colours themselves and that the human being can not only theorise in the conventional sense of Kant but can in fact truly know the phenomenon as it is. Contemporary science as it also was then does not acknowledge such a possibility.
The book is basically a written account of experiments done by Goethe on the generation of colour in natural events and his own experiments to bring to the fore the ground of all colour generation.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By David Hume on January 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
Clever, original, speculative.

Ideas like Goethe's are the wellspring of new fashions in thought, whether they are 'right' or not.

Maybe Newton was supported by better evidence in his analysis of light and colour, but Goethe's views are a study in how the inquisitive human mind speculates on fascinating topics and comes up with answers that demand consideration and respect - whether they are 'right' in reality or just useful as ideas in themselves.

This book will provide insights into how we think, not just how we explain phenomenon.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Matei N. PLESU on October 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
Very solid, explicative (often clearer than the original text) translation of the "Didactical Part" of the "Theory of Colours".
Although, the complete "Theory of Colours" also includes a "Historical Part" and a "Polemical Part"...
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Christopher R. Travers on August 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
First a note. Goethe's optical theory is well known to be incorrect. Whatever he applies in terms of optical theory, one can disregard.

This book is a fascinating look at the world of colors in which we live with the eye for detail of a scientist and the meditative appreciation of a philosopher. The attention to detail is very good. The experiments are reproducible. It's really nicely done.

The basic theory that Goethe seems to be striving for is a set of patterns which explain our perception of color in the world around us. His theories are thus almost more artistic than scientific. He looks a patterns in color change, including those in optical illusions relating solely to the eye. In these patterns he finds meaning.

I very much enjoyed this book. It helped me step back and enjoy the world a little more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Clyburn on March 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book, and though the format wasn't as I expected at the beginning - the information was priceless. Definitely a plus and a recommended read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would think they should be printed on a larger size of paper. Because all the books are printed on too small a scale for the reader to be comfortable.Opening the pages to read forces the book to break its back.
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By Barbara Timberman on August 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have u sed it as a resource book and not one I read from cover to cover...It will be good.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Wye Watfore on July 9, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
not at all what i thought and when i tried to return it amazon said to just keep it - that should say it all
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