The foundations of the universalist tradition in color-naming research (and their supposed refutation

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 28 (2):179-204 (1998)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In Basic Color Terms, Berlin and Kay argued for a restricted number of "basic" color words—words they claimed to be culturally universal. This claim about language was buttressed by psychologist Eleanor Rosch's famous work on color prototypes. Together, the works of Berlin and Kay and Rosch are the foundation for a contemporary research tradition investigating the biological foundations of color naming. In this article, the author describes some common objections to the works of Berlin and Kay and Rosch and argues that they are not significant. The claim that explanations of color naming ought to be strictly cultural also is discussed and rejected.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,168

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library


Added to PP

27 (#433,162)

6 months
1 (#448,551)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Don Dedrick
University of Guelph

Citations of this work

Misconceptions About Colour Categories.Christoph Witzel - 2019 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 10 (3):499-540.
Rewriting color.B. A. C. Saunders & J. Van Brakel - 2001 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 31 (4):538-556.

Add more citations

References found in this work

The Logic of Scientific Discovery.Karl Popper - 1959 - Studia Logica 9:262-265.
The Logic of Scientific Discovery.K. Popper - 1959 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 10 (37):55-57.
Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution.Brent Berlin & Paul Kay - 1991 - Center for the Study of Language and Information.

View all 24 references / Add more references