What if Esquimaux Had No Words For Blue? An Illustrated Lecture by Professor Zed Adams
What if Esquimaux Had No Words For Blue?
The Historical and Philosophical Significance of 19th Century Color Vocabulary Studies
An Illustrated Lecture by Professor Zed Adams
In the mid-19th century, William Gladstone, a prominent British statesman and dedicated reformer of prostitutes, argued that an analysis of Homer's color vocabulary in the Iliad revealed that the ancient Greeks were color-blind. This claim set off a virtual landslide of color vocabulary studies, in which a wide variety of both amateur and professional scholars struggled to refute or reinforce Gladstone's provocative claim. Children, animals, missionaries, colonial administrators, ophthalmologists and even Charles Darwin himself were consulted. Professor Adams surveys the previously untold history of these color vocabulary studies, revealing the pioneering work that they inspired in philology, psychology, anthropology, and linguistics. He also draws a philosophical moral from this history, arguing that it reveals a significant shift in thinking about the nature of colors from the 19th century to today. This extensively illustrated lecture will be followed by a technicolor- reception in the garden area of The Velaslavasay Panorama.
Zed Adams is currently Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York, where he works on ethics, aesthetics, and the philosophy of mind. He is currently working on a history of ethical skepticism, focusing on the emergence of a distinctively modern strand of skepticism in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The Velaslavasay Panorama
1122 West 24th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90007
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