Newton’s and Goethe’s Colour Theories — Contradictory or Complementary Approaches?

  • Huldrych M. Koelbing
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 195)


Before we tackle our main theme, let us remember some ideas of Plato and Aristotle. Perhaps not Newton, but certainly Goethe was well aware of a historical continuity ever since antiquity. The Third Part of his Theory of Colours - in the German original “Die Farbenlehre” - is devoted to its history because, as Goethe explains in the Preface of the work, he thinks “that the history of science is science itself”, - “daß die Geschichte der Wissenschaft die Wissenschaft selbst sei.”1


Colour Theory White Wall Physical Colour Loeb Classical Library Complementary Colour 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Huldrych M. Koelbing
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for the History of MedicineUniversity of ZürichSwitzerland

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