Locke and Hume’s Philosophical Theory of Color is Investigated through a Case Study of Esref Armagan, An Artist Born Blind.

Simon Hayhoe, Ruby Cohen, Helena Garcia-Carrisoza

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This article investigates Locke and Hume’s philosophical theory of color, through a study of the fine art practice of Esref Armagan,a Turkish artist who has never seen. The philosophical theory of color is important to the cultural history of blindness, as it has been used to justify early curricula in schools for the blind. This study is based on the following research question: Can people who are born blind understand color in the fine arts? The study is part of a grounded methodology study of art practices and visual impairment, whose findings informed a participatory study of museum access. This article examines part of the study’s first phase,and focuses on the practice of the Turkish artist, Esref Armagan, who was born without sight. Data was collected through a translated correspondence interview with Esref Armagan, and an examination of research articles focusing on Esref’s drawing skills. The study’s data is analyzed using Anderson, Krathwohl &Bloom’s learning hierarchy. It is found that Esref has an extensive knowledge of color and other visual concepts, developed symbolically. What’s more, not only has Esref a knowledge of color, but he can use this knowledge creatively in accordance with Anderson, Krathwohl & Bloom’s highest level of learning(level 6). The article concludes that Locke and Hume’s philosophical theory of color can be challenged in the context of the creative fine arts, as Esref could develop unique, creative images using color.Therefore, our application of the philosophical theory of color on the education of students with visual impairments, and the pedagogical and andragogical practice based on these theories should be questioned.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)0
JournalJournal of Blindness Innovation and Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2019


  • Hume
  • Locke
  • Blind
  • Theory
  • Art
  • Artist
  • Color
  • philosophy of mind
  • theory of mind


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