Let’s Go Color Shopping with Charles Sanders Peirce: Color Scientists as Consumers of Color
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Scientists who studied color were also consumers of colored goods, manifesting a dual identity that sometimes engendered epistemological misgivings. This essay examines the relationship between colored goods and color science through an examination of the color work of philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce and his sometimes friend, physicist Ogden Rood. While scientists needed colored goods in order to study the nature of color, they frequently balked at the suggestion that science and consumer culture could be so closely related. Rossi details the epistemological maneuverings contrived by scientists such as Peirce and Rood when they went shopping for colors–maneuverings designed to insure that the colors they studied were objects of science, whereas the items they purchased were objects of commerce.