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Ask Marilyn: What Color Is An Apple in the Dark?

Paul Hessler of New Fairfield, Connecticut, writes:

Marilyn: I appreciate complex logic and hopefully can extend a challenging question to you. The following is a problem brought about by a thought of mine. If a red apple is placed into a room in which there is no light, what color would you assign the apple? Why?

Marilyn responds:

Red. And why? Color exists only in the presence of light. So as I'm assigning the apple a color, I must assign it the color it would be in the presence of light. And the kind of light that gave it the description "red" in the first place—say, ordinary daylight—is the light I would reasonably use as the reference standard.



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