Colour and form in the disordered mind conference

European Research Institute G51
Thursday 3 May (09:00) - Friday 4 May 2018 (16:30)

For further information about the conference please contact Dr Will Davies (


A central question in philosophy of mind concerns the nature of visual perception. What is it to see? The standard Aristotelian view is that seeing always involves awareness of colour: we see the shapes and sizes of objects by virtue of seeing their colours.

This two-day conference will provide an interdisciplinary examination of the relationship between colour and form in visual perception, particularly (though not exclusively) in light of findings concerning cerebral achromatopsia or ‘cortical colour blindness’. The conference will bring together experts from cognitive neuropsychology and vision science with philosophers of mind and psychology who specialise in colour vision.


Thursday 3 May 2018

  • 09:00-09:30 - Welcome and coffee
  • 09:30-10:45 - Kathleen Akins (Simon Fraser University): "No P/Figment needed: How colour emerges in visual development"
  • 10:45-11:15 - Coffee
  • 11:15-12:30 - Robert W. Kentridge (Durham University): “Colour – where Aristotle and Helmholtz
    were wrong”
  • 12:30-13:30 - Lunch
  • 13:30-14:45 - Will Davies (University of Birmingham): “On edge: Colour, contour, and cerebral achromatopsia”
  • 14:45-16:00 - Elena Gheorghiu (University of Stirling): “The role of colour in shape and symmetry processing in human vision”
  • 16:00-16:30 - Coffee
  • 16:30-17:45 - Derek Brown (University of Glasgow): “It’s probably just me: Form and defect in
    colour subjectivism”

Dinner for speakers from 19:30.

Friday 4 May 2018

  • 09:30-10:45 - Mazviita Chirimuuta (University of Pittsburgh): “Colour and form: Some neo-Kantian themes
  • 10:45-11:15 - Coffee
  • 11:15-12:30 - Karl Gegenfurtner (Giessen University): "Colour vision for natural objects”
  • 12:30-13:30 - Lunch
  • 13:30-14:45 - Keith Allen (University of York): “Structural properties of experience and disorders of colour consciousness: A phenomenological perspective” (joint work with Philip Quinlan, University of York)
  • 14:45-15:15 - Coffee
  • 15:15-16:30 - Fiona Macpherson (University of Glasgow): “Seeing without experiencing (chromatic or
    achromatic) colour”
  • 16:30 - Conference close

A PDF version of the programme is also available here.


The conference is free, though lunch is not provided. Registration has now closed, but please contact the conference organiser Dr Will Davies if you are interested in attending.

Travel and accommodation

You can find the best way to travel to the University of Birmingham on the Getting here - Edgbaston Campus webpage. The European Research Institute (ERI) can be found at reference G3 on the University of Birmingham Edgbaston campus map (this map also highlights mobility access). Disability access information can be found on the Disability access webpage.

The University of Birmingham has its own accommodation. You can book a room on the University's Conferences & Events website. Alternative accommodation is also available in Birmingham city centre (a 10 minute train journey from campus).

We would like to thank the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust for generously supporting this conference. British Academy