Calendar | Conference

The Normativity of Color: Perspectives from Edith Landmann-Kalischer and Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Monthly Phenomenology

Genève, 20th November 2020


Organised by


Abstract: Does color place any demands on us? Is there any sense in which we should respond to it? Does it give us reason to engage in certain ways? Often, it is assumed that the answer to these questions is ‘no’, and that it is only value-laden properties, like aesthetic or moral properties, which generate demands, shoulds, and reasons. However, I consider two phenomenological accounts of why it only seems that color is normatively neutral, when it, in fact, places demands on us, viz., the accounts defended by Edith Landmann-Kalischer and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Although each defends a different view of the normativity of color, they both develop their views by means of an analysis of the symmetry between color and aesthetic properties. I argue that this strategy reveals something not only about the normativity of color, but also its continuity with aesthetic properties.