Couleur, culture et cognition : examen épistémologique de la théorie des termes basiques

Abstract : Color is an elective field of investigation regarding the interface between culture and cognition: color being understood as a physical continuum of wavelengths comprised between 400nm and 700nm, how can we account for the impression of discontinuity that characterizes its perception? Categories are they determined by external factors, like language, or are they determined by internal factors, like our perceptual and cognitive mechanisms? The first half of the 20th century is marked by a relativist answer to this question. Indeed, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis contends that color categories are arbitrarily determined by language. However, in 1969, Berlin and Kay publish their basic color terms theory that contradicts the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. They contend, in the contrary, that ‘basic' color terms are determined by perception, and refer in the same way across languages. This thesis presents the basic color terms' history and evolution, and analyzes the conceptual and experimental tools it uses. We concentrate more specifically on the notions of ‘basic color terms' and of ‘perceptual determination', and show their limits. We ultimately contend that color categorization can only be understood as resulting from the interaction of internal and external factors.
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Submitted on : Monday, March 15, 2010 - 6:06:34 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-00464062, version 1



Yasmine Jraissati. Couleur, culture et cognition : examen épistémologique de la théorie des termes basiques. Philosophie. Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), 2009. Français. ⟨tel-00464062⟩



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