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Newton, Goethe and the Mathematization of Colour

24/01/2020 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


A public lecture by Dr Troy Vine

One of the most stubborn myths in the debate on the difference between Newton’s and Goethe’s approach to colour is that Goethe rejected mathematization, if not wholesale, then at least in his colour studies. In the first part of this lecture I will show that this myth is based on a superficial conception of mathematics. In the second part I will show that removing this assumption of a supposedly fundamental difference between Newton’s and Goethe’s approach renders Goethe’s critique of Newton, on the one hand, far more specific than is often assumed, and, on the other, far more serious. Indeed, as I will show, Goethe’s critique is an imminent critique of Newton’s approach—a critique, that is, that takes Newton’s own stated objectives as the yardstick against which to judge his result.

All welcome.

Troy is an Associate Researcher for The Field Centre, and a researcher in the Department of Philosophy, Humboldt University, Berlin.


7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Category:


Simon Reakes


The Field Centre
GL6 0QE United Kingdom + Google Map