Newton’s Rejection of the Modification Theory of Colour
(N): Colours are original and connate properties of light. By interaction with material media, with prisms for example, they are not generated, but only separated from one another. Before such interactions, they are contained in light in a confusedly intermingled manner.
(MT): Colours are not original properties of light. They are generated in particular interactions with material media by certain modifications which matter causes in light.
(P): Colours are generated by the admixture of darkness to light or, more generally, by the interaction of light and darkness, mediated by material media.
KeywordsModification Theory Material Medium Weak Reflection Geometrical Boundary Connate Property
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- 1.For the clarification of these theses I am indebted to Nakajima (1984). I disagree, however, with certain of his conclusions.Google Scholar
- 2.For a general view see Guerlac (1986) or Sabra’s classical study (1967).Google Scholar
- 3.See the suggestion made by the editors in Newton (1983), p. 244.Google Scholar
- 4.Newton (1983), p. 389.Google Scholar
- 5.To conclude, as does Nakajima (1984, p. 271), that Newton at this time believed in some sort of modification theory, seems to me not to be justified.Google Scholar
- 6.Newton (1983), pp. 433f.Google Scholar
- 7.Newton (1983), p. 435.Google Scholar
- 8.Newton (1984), pp. 434-436.Google Scholar
- 9.Newton (1984), pp. 490-506.Google Scholar
- 10.Newton C I. 96f.Google Scholar
- 11.Opticks Prop. 7, p. 158.Google Scholar
- 12.Opticks Qu. 27, p. 361.Google Scholar
- 13.For an analysis of this development see Shapiro (1980).Google Scholar
- 14.Opticks p. 113.Google Scholar
- 15.See, for example, his summarizing conclusion on p. 121 or his formulation of the general result in Prop. 7, p. 158.Google Scholar
- 16.Opticks p. 59.Google Scholar
- 17.Opticks p. 120.Google Scholar
- 18.Opticks p. 120.Google Scholar
- 19.Euler (1768), part 2, letter 133.Google Scholar