Remarks on Colour

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Remarks on Colour (German: Bemerkungen über die Farben) is a collection of notes by Ludwig Wittgenstein on Goethe's Theory of Colours. The work consists of Wittgenstein's reactions to Goethe's thinking, and an attempt to clarify the use of language about colour.[1] Believing that philosophical puzzles about colour can only be resolved through attention to the involved language-games, Wittgenstein distinguishes between the science of optics, as developed by Newton, and Goethe's phenomenology of colour, remarking that:

Goethe's theory of the origin of the spectrum isn't a theory of its origin that has proved unsatisfactory; it is really not a theory at all. Nothing can be predicted by means of it. It is, rather, a vague schematic outline, of the sort we find in James's psychology. There is no experimentum crucis for Goethe's theory of colour.

Remarks on Colour is generally considered a very difficult work, partially on account of its fragmentation.[1]

This was Wittgenstein's last work and was written during a visit to Vienna in 1950 and while he was dying of cancer in Cambridge the following year.[2]


  1. ^ a b McGinn, M. (October 1991). "Wittgenstein's Remarks on Colour". Philosophy 66 (258): 435–453. doi:10.1017/S0031819100065104. JSTOR 3751218.  edit
  2. ^ "Weaving the Rainbow: Visions of Color in World History" by Robert Finlay, University of Arkansas, at