Hermann von Helmholtz, Ewald Hering and color vision

a controversy over styles of reasoning?



Controvérsia científica, Visão colorida, Óptica fisiológica, Estilos de raciocínio


During the second half of the 19th century, in the field of physiological optics, there was a strong controversy between Hermann von Helmholtz and Ewald Hering. This controversy has been usually characterized as “empiricism” vs. “nativism”. In the field of physiology of visual perception, several subjects demanded attention, among them, color vision. Helmholtz and Hering suggested different theories for the physiological correlate of color sensation and different color spaces to give an account of the relationships between colors. In this article, I will argue that the controversy between the two authors could be understood as differences between styles of reasoning, and these different styles express different presuppositions. More specifically, I want to suggest that the disagreements could be linked to the discussions on how vital phenomena should be studied.


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Biografia do Autor

Juliana Gutiérrez, Universidad de los Andes

Doutorando em andamento em Filosofia na Faculdade de Ciências Sociais do Departamento de Filosofia pela Universidad de los Andes.


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Como Citar

GUTIÉRREZ, J. Hermann von Helmholtz, Ewald Hering and color vision: a controversy over styles of reasoning?. Manuscrito: Revista Internacional de Filosofia, Campinas, SP, v. 44, n. 1, p. 37–97, 2021. Disponível em: https://periodicos.sbu.unicamp.br/ojs/index.php/manuscrito/article/view/8665644. Acesso em: 27 set. 2022.