The uses of colour vision: Ornamental, practical, and theoretical

M. Chirimuuta, F. A. A. Kingdom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


What is colour vision for? In the popular imagination colour vision is for “seeing the colours” — adding hue to the achromatic world of shape, depth and motion. On this view colour vision plays little more than an ornamental role, lending glamour to an otherwise monochrome world. This idea has guided much theorising about colour within vision science and philosophy. However, we argue that a broader approach is needed. Recent research in the psychology of colour demonstrates that colour vision is integral to a variety of visual processes, helping us to perform many types of visual tasks. We discuss some of this research and consider its implications for philosophical theories of colour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-229
JournalMinds and machines
Issue number2
Early online date28 Jun 2015
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Jun 2015


  • philosophy of mind
  • philosophy of perception
  • philosophy of colour
  • psychophysics
  • vision science

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