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Only apparently banal, the question

Although the colors are so familiar to us that we no longer notice them, they have long provoked lively disputes in philosophical circles. This work, written almost like a detective story, asks unavoidable questions and provides useful interpretation tools. Only apparently banal, the question ’what is color?’ crosses a good part of the contemporary philosophy of the last decades. And the answers can be surprising

’Show a red cloth to a bull and it will be angry,’ writes Goethe, ’but try to speak about colors to a philosopher and you will infuriate him.’ Colors have always been familiar to us, but for philosophy they represent an ancient challenge, an enigma that pushes to ask ourselves about its own conditions of possibility.

In fact, what is color? Is it a property of objects? Or, as modern science shows us and many contemporary philosophers claim, the world is not colorful at all? Starting from this question, which runs through all the Anglo-American philosophy of the last forty years, the investigator-philosopher will follow the traces of the color on the run, looking for it in the painter’s laboratory (what the color of art will teach to the philosopher?) and in everyday language (is the word ’blue’ blue?). He will come out with the belief that, as Kermit of the Muppet Show sings in a famous song, ’It’s not easy being green’…

Genre: Essays

Subject: History / Philosophy / Religion

Publishing house:


Year of publication: 2020

Published in: Milano

Number of pages: 192

Price: 18 €

ISBN: 9788816415843

Foreign rights manager: Stefano Miceli (


Alice Barale

ALICE BARALE is a research fellow in Aesthetics at the University of Florence. She has dealt extensively with Aby Warburg and Walter Benjamin, to whom she has dedicated a monograph (The melancholy of the image, Pisa 2009) and several essays. He edited a new Italian edition and translation of the Origin of the German Baroque drama by Walter Benjamin (2018) and, for Jaca Book, a monograph on AI art (Art and artificial intelligence. Be my GAN, 2020).