The Pinkest Pink: Questions from the Colour Wars

This week’s bulletin on the theme of colour is guest-edited by Tuğçe Büyükuğurlu of Philotopia, a leading trainer and author in Turkey’s growing P4C community. See the P.S. below for opportunities to collaborate with us if you’re outside the UK.

(Photo credit MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images)

The Blackest Black

I’ve been reading about “the colour wars” in the art world.

Artist Anish Kapoor created the blackest black of the world. The pigment is currently the blackest substance known – so dark that it absorbs 99.96 percent of light. This new colour created a buzz of excitement in the art world – but there was a problem. Anish Kapoor owned the exclusive copyrights of this colour called “Vantablack”. No one else is permitted to use the colour. The excitement turned into an outrage.

Then another artist, Stuart Semple got to work and created “the pinkest pink”.

Contrary to Kapoor’s jealously-guarded blackest black, anyone who wants to can use the pinkest pink – with one exception: Kapoor and people who work for him. There’s even a snarky cookies message on Semple’s website asking you to confirm that you are not Anish Kapoor.

Colour is a concept discussed a lot in philosophy. Here are some questions:

Should you be able to own a colour?

Are colours invented or discovered?

Can you forbid others to use a colour?

Is black a colour?

Can there be the “most” of a colour like the blackest black and the pinkest pink?

Do we all see the same pink?

If ten of us are looking at something pink, how many pinks are there?

What is pink? Where does pink start and end?

How could you explain what colour is to an alien who had no concept of colour?



P.S. from Jason If you’re outside the UK, all the services and support we offer here are available around the world.

Books, resource packs and Sticky Questions At the moment, there’s a challenge sending to the EU, but some cross-border philosophy-smuggling may be happening in January. The rest of the world is already open for business!

Online training for networks of P4C enthusiasts, or for individual schools. The Turkish course is 6 evenings on Zoom, with training from Jason using simultaneous translation and Tuğçe facilitating enquiries in Turkish, which has been a great model. We’ll be running another course in English soon. We’ve  done zooms for individual schools from Rio to Beijing. We will also be starting a World Philosophy Club after the success of the World Philosophy Day Zoom assembly, which had over 2,000 participants!

Face-to-face training for networks of P4C enthusiasts, or for individual schools. I’m in Belfast (still UK but as I get on a plane it has a whiff of international glamour), Denmark and Norway in January for open events, and have worked with international schools from Luxembourg to Vietnam, with combinations of teacher, student and parent workshops and training. I particularly welcome winter bookings in warm countries…

Just send us an email saying where in the world you are, and what school or context you work in, to open up a conversation about how we might work together.

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