Saturday, April 11, 2009

On white and whiteness

Next post will be the response to this OP.

Madame Y,

Over lunch someone asked me, what is to believe?
I did not know what to answer.
He said: "I can prove to you that ceiling there is not white".
In truth, the ceiling was white.
His proof, the table cloth is even whiter.
This was also true.
I could have said: "Yes that's true, but both are white, and one is more white."
He would have said: "No that's untrue, there is only one color which can be qualified as white."

I was not too tempted to enter into this discussion given his personality.

What is reality? The perception of white?


  1. Just a thought, but isn't white the absence of all color and wouldn't this include whiteness or any degree of it. He was wrong in the first instance because white is not a color. The Count's head spinneth! White must be non-reality and the perception of non-reality must be what we call white. Whoa! The Count is down to his last few marbles and can't burn brain cells that fast.

  2. Count! Yes that is a possible answer. White is not a primary color. Other possible answers: you only compare things of the same "species"; colors support degrees; the color white doesn't exist of itslef (a rock is white, but pure white doesn't exist). :)

  3. white is a mix of the three primary colors, red, blue, yellow.

  4. You can also apply the question of vagueness to whether something is white or not. Is there a borderline between white and not white? And if there is how do you difine it in terms of white. Also there has to be a difference between not white and any other color. In other words is there a difference between false and not-true?

    DB Vagabond Journeys

  5. meant to say "how do you define it"

  6. Just checking to see if you've posted a verdict yet.

    From what I know of people, color is subjective. In a way, isn't all color a figment of how our minds are wired on a personal level?

    Just my thought for the day

  7. DB,
    Welcome. I wouldn't know how to define the borderline cases ie what are the minimum mixes of red yellow and blue for the result to qualify as white?

    Rebecca Anne,
    There may be borderline cases, most of us will recognize a black or a white (at least as we see it). For the purposes of the blogpoll, the example of a dog (vs Fido) or a tree (vs pine) could have been used. It may seem like an innocuous question, yet the answer lays at the source of human thought. I should post the answer tommorrow. :)

  8. White is the absence of colour, but is also the "brightest" in the colour spectrum, so perhaps it can be identified by it's level of "brightness" rather than "whiteness"... the brighter the white, the whiter the white.