Colour

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Re: Colour

#61  Postby DavidMcC » Feb 28, 2016 3:50 pm

... I might have known this kind of tosh would come up on the Philosophy forum! :roll:
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Re: Colour

#62  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Feb 28, 2016 6:17 pm

DavidMcC wrote:... I might have known this kind of tosh would come up on the Philosophy forum! :roll:

Yep. Thar be some weapons-grade philosophobabble in this thread.

On the other hand, I think Hobbes Choice is a wonderful forum member to watch you interacting with. Doesn't he just annoy you? Think about what he does that annoys you. Now think about what you do. Seriously. I'll not claim to be free of the defects I'm pointing up, either. But at least I'm cognizant of it and try to do something about it on my good days.

I think the three of us are suffering from a serious case of curmudgeonry.
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Re: Colour

#63  Postby DougC » Feb 28, 2016 6:22 pm

I think it's curmudgeonosis.
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Re: Colour

#64  Postby DavidMcC » Feb 28, 2016 6:23 pm

ScholasticSpastic wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:... I might have known this kind of tosh would come up on the Philosophy forum! :roll:

Yep. Thar be some weapons-grade philosophobabble in this thread.

On the other hand, I think Hobbes Choice is a wonderful forum member to watch you interacting with. Doesn't he just annoy you? Think about what he does that annoys you. Now think about what you do. Seriously. I'll not claim to be free of the defects I'm pointing up, either. But at least I'm cognizant of it and try to do something about it on my good days.

I think the three of us are suffering from a serious case of curmudgeonry.

What I was doing was restraining myself, so as not to break the FUA!
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Re: Colour

#65  Postby romansh » Feb 28, 2016 6:53 pm

ScholasticSpastic wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:... I might have known this kind of tosh would come up on the Philosophy forum! :roll:

Yep. Thar be some weapons-grade philosophobabble in this thread.

On the other hand, I think Hobbes Choice is a wonderful forum member to watch you interacting with. Doesn't he just annoy you? Think about what he does that annoys you. Now think about what you do. Seriously. I'll not claim to be free of the defects I'm pointing up, either. But at least I'm cognizant of it and try to do something about it on my good days.

I think the three of us are suffering from a serious case of curmudgeonry.

Scholastic,
Do you understand the point that Hobbes and I are trying to make? I think on this occasion David gets the science right (at least to my understanding) but seems completely oblivious to some of the ramifications.

This leaves me completely bewildered.

sorry for the continued derail.
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Re: Colour

#66  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Feb 28, 2016 7:22 pm

romansh wrote:
Scholastic,
Do you understand the point that Hobbes and I are trying to make? I think on this occasion David gets the science right (at least to my understanding) but seems completely oblivious to some of the ramifications.

I don't agree with where you are trying to go with this. That there are multiple things IN THE WORLD which will result in the perception of a color doesn't mean color is only in our head. It simply means that our perception of these things stimulates our brains in very similar ways. Even so, a brain which is functioning properly will not perceive a color unless it is stimulated by things IN THE WORLD with very specific properties, emitting, reflecting, or refracting light of very specific wavelengths. It isn't a problem for the idea of objective color that the brain has evolved color correction mechanisms. It isn't a problem for the idea of objective color that multiple combinations of wavelengths of light can cause perception of the same color.

Our sensory apparatus evolved to respond to stimuli which correlate to things going on IN THE WORLD. It is easy to imagine that organisms which had sensory apparati which didn't do so probably didn't reproduce very successfully. Regardless of how we choose to define a red thing, it is a red thing in the world, not just a red thing in our head, and we perceive it as red for objective reasons which follow predictable rules rather than as a function of personal preference or life experience (barring life experiences which physically alter the way our eyes and/or visual cortices work).

The occurrence of sensory illusions does not invalidate the idea of our sensory apparatus being evolved to perceive things as they are in the world. All it does is illustrate that the evolution of our sensory apparatus occurred under circumstances in which some combinations of stimuli were less likely to be important to our survival than others, and so there are some combinations of stimuli which we have not evolved mechanisms to discriminate between, or which will trigger atypical sensory responses. Such as the different nerve endings which sense magnitude of temperature and hotness resulting in the placement of a luke-warm thing next to a very cold thing being perceived as a very hot thing. In nature temperature is usually much more homogeneous than that, and so the generation of the sensory illusion does not expose a flaw in the sensors, but rather a departure from commonly-encountered stimuli.

While it is okay to ridicule the chuckle-heads who think "seeing is believing" is an adequate description of skepticism, and while it is reasonable to be aware that what we sense doesn't always correspond to things IN THE WORLD because of aberrations from homeostasis internally, or novel combinations of stimuli externally, or both, that does not neatly package all instances of perception of a thing into the realm of the subjective.

This leaves me completely bewildered.

Yeah, things get pretty bewildering when we attempt to shoehorn trivial observations about how things function, or about how we believe things function, and about how things can misfire sometimes, into positions where they're attributed outsize importance.

sorry for the continued derail.

It is no longer a derail now that there's a thread for it. Therefor I do not recognize your apology as necessary.
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Re: Colour

#67  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Feb 28, 2016 7:24 pm

DougC wrote:I think it's curmudgeonosis.

:thumbup: I like it. :grin:

DavidMcC wrote:
What I was doing was restraining myself, so as not to break the FUA!

Whoosh! :doh:
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Re: Colour

#68  Postby romansh » Feb 28, 2016 8:03 pm

ScholasticSpastic wrote: I don't agree with where you are trying to go with this. That there are multiple things IN THE WORLD which will result in the perception of a color doesn't mean color is only in our head.

Nor does it mean there is colour, but it is reason to be suspicious or a skeptical to some degree.

ScholasticSpastic wrote:It simply means that our perception of these things stimulates our brains in very similar ways. Even so, a brain which is functioning properly will not perceive a color unless it is stimulated by things IN THE WORLD with very specific properties, emitting, reflecting, or refracting light of very specific wavelengths.

I am not sure how are electrochemical reactions in the brain that is processing signals from the optic nerves, signals that have been generated by photochemical reactions with photons that have been reflected (or some other mechanism) makes that surface the same colour that I think I perceive.

Now I understand I can't "prove" that surface does not have the same colour never mind any colour. But it doe seem a little far fetched to believe the surface is actually the same colour as I perceive.
ScholasticSpastic wrote: It isn't a problem for the idea of objective color that the brain has evolved color correction mechanisms. It isn't a problem for the idea of objective color that multiple combinations of wavelengths of light can cause perception of the same color.

This is like saying if we had the capability of seeing radio frequencies, the London double decker bus is red with a hint of radio.

ScholasticSpastic wrote: Our sensory apparatus evolved to respond to stimuli which correlate to things going on IN THE WORLD. It is easy to imagine that organisms which had sensory apparati which didn't do so probably didn't reproduce very successfully. Regardless of how we choose to define a red thing, it is a red thing in the world, not just a red thing in our head, and we perceive it as red for objective reasons which follow predictable rules rather than as a function of personal preference or life experience (barring life experiences which physically alter the way our eyes and/or visual cortices work).

I find this a curious argument ... if evolution had taken a different path and our perceptions of colour were somehow jumbled, you would be arguing exactly the same way. We have no way (at least that I know of) of determining whether the perception of colour amongst healthy colour perceiving people is the same.

ScholasticSpastic wrote: The occurrence of sensory illusions does not invalidate the idea of our sensory apparatus being evolved to perceive things as they are in the world. All it does is illustrate that the evolution of our sensory apparatus occurred under circumstances in which some combinations of stimuli were less likely to be important to our survival than others, and so there are some combinations of stimuli which we have not evolved mechanisms to discriminate between, or which will trigger atypical sensory responses. Such as the different nerve endings which sense magnitude of temperature and hotness resulting in the placement of a luke-warm thing next to a very cold thing being perceived as a very hot thing. In nature temperature is usually much more homogeneous than that, and so the generation of the sensory illusion does not expose a flaw in the sensors, but rather a departure from commonly-encountered stimuli.

Again colour illusions should make us a little suspicious.

I understand our photoreceptors are tuned over broad bands for red, blue and green light. This does not force the object to have any colour per se. All it is, is a reflection of the interaction of light, adsorptive properties of the material, photochemical reaction and processing capability of the brain.
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Re: Colour

#69  Postby Macdoc » Feb 28, 2016 8:27 pm

This is like saying if we had the capability of seeing radio frequencies, the London double decker bus is red with a hint of radio.


It is - just ask any radio telescope pointing at it and for a tetrachromat it could be numerous shades you cannot perceive.

That has nothing to do with the convention of the range of frequencies designated as "red"....you seem to want to think of as a "thing" ala Plato...it's not ...it's a portion of a spectrum.

Other humans, intelligences like dags and robots and eagles will see variations of the reflected wavelengths. It's still the same set of wavelengths.....ergo in our lexicon it's red.

Husbands and wives argue over blue or green all the time because of slight perception differences but the wavelengths encompass both in our color convention.

Beyond that ...you are just arguing semantics....the physics forces the colour in our convention of slicing the spectrum ....got it??
What the receiving neural net does with it varies.....the wavelengths are still there....

So a scientist seeing wavelengths from a Cassini flyby in the human vision zone can enhance those so say Jupiter looks more dramatic to the vast majority of humans.
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Re: Colour

#70  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Feb 28, 2016 8:33 pm

romansh wrote:
ScholasticSpastic wrote: I don't agree with where you are trying to go with this. That there are multiple things IN THE WORLD which will result in the perception of a color doesn't mean color is only in our head.

Nor does it mean there is colour, but it is reason to be suspicious or a skeptical to some degree.

It becomes bizarre to extend such skepticism in the face of the fact that we can detect colors by means other than via vision with the advent of extant technologies. This gives us a way to check the correspondence between what we perceive and what the instrument detects.

ScholasticSpastic wrote:It simply means that our perception of these things stimulates our brains in very similar ways. Even so, a brain which is functioning properly will not perceive a color unless it is stimulated by things IN THE WORLD with very specific properties, emitting, reflecting, or refracting light of very specific wavelengths.

I am not sure how are electrochemical reactions in the brain that is processing signals from the optic nerves, signals that have been generated by photochemical reactions with photons that have been reflected (or some other mechanism) makes that surface the same colour that I think I perceive.

Now I understand I can't "prove" that surface does not have the same colour never mind any colour. But it doe seem a little far fetched to believe the surface is actually the same colour as I perceive.

Now that we have instruments which detect color, it's quite a simple thing to check our perceptions against those instruments. The old philosophical arguments involving qualia have become outdated, and become more outdated every year, because we now have mechanisms which we can use to check our perceptions of the world. GC-MS can confirm or invalidate what we smell. Optical detectors can confirm or invalidate what we see. Thermometers can confirm or invalidate our perceptions of temperature (which are very imprecise, and understandably so). With the exception of proprioception, our senses can no longer be treated as something which takes place in the black box of the brain. And I would question the claim that proprioception is a nut which will remain un-cracked.

ScholasticSpastic wrote: It isn't a problem for the idea of objective color that the brain has evolved color correction mechanisms. It isn't a problem for the idea of objective color that multiple combinations of wavelengths of light can cause perception of the same color.

This is like saying if we had the capability of seeing radio frequencies, the London double decker bus is red with a hint of radio.

I don't understand why that's a problem. Surfaces do have characteristic appearances at EM frequencies beyond the visual range, and if our sight included those frequencies, yes, a bus would be red + radio. Just because a thing is weird, that doesn't make it untrue.

ScholasticSpastic wrote: Our sensory apparatus evolved to respond to stimuli which correlate to things going on IN THE WORLD. It is easy to imagine that organisms which had sensory apparati which didn't do so probably didn't reproduce very successfully. Regardless of how we choose to define a red thing, it is a red thing in the world, not just a red thing in our head, and we perceive it as red for objective reasons which follow predictable rules rather than as a function of personal preference or life experience (barring life experiences which physically alter the way our eyes and/or visual cortices work).

I find this a curious argument ... if evolution had taken a different path and our perceptions of colour were somehow jumbled, you would be arguing exactly the same way. We have no way (at least that I know of) of determining whether the perception of colour amongst healthy colour perceiving people is the same.


If our perceptions of color did not reflect things in the world, we would not have evolved. Full stop. Our ancestors would be dead and we would never have existed. Given the harsh realities of natural selection, your thought experiment isn't something I find terribly illuminating. The correspondence between surface reflectance/refractance and color vision is something which would be conserved via evolution. If we were unable to see that a surface had those characteristics which we perceive via color vision, this would not change the fact that the surface had those characteristics. If those characteristics are vital to our survival, and we do not see them, then we die.

ScholasticSpastic wrote: The occurrence of sensory illusions does not invalidate the idea of our sensory apparatus being evolved to perceive things as they are in the world. All it does is illustrate that the evolution of our sensory apparatus occurred under circumstances in which some combinations of stimuli were less likely to be important to our survival than others, and so there are some combinations of stimuli which we have not evolved mechanisms to discriminate between, or which will trigger atypical sensory responses. Such as the different nerve endings which sense magnitude of temperature and hotness resulting in the placement of a luke-warm thing next to a very cold thing being perceived as a very hot thing. In nature temperature is usually much more homogeneous than that, and so the generation of the sensory illusion does not expose a flaw in the sensors, but rather a departure from commonly-encountered stimuli.

Again colour illusions should make us a little suspicious.


You left out where I said this: "and while it is reasonable to be aware that what we sense doesn't always correspond to things IN THE WORLD because of aberrations from homeostasis internally, or novel combinations of stimuli externally, or both, that does not neatly package all instances of perception of a thing into the realm of the subjective."

Your error is where you try to force your way from some of a type of thing not being objective to all of a type of thing not being objective.

I understand our photoreceptors are tuned over broad bands for red, blue and green light. This does not force the object to have any colour per se. All it is, is a reflection of the interaction of light, adsorptive properties of the material, photochemical reaction and processing capability of the brain.

This last bit is just nonsense. Or your language includes some weird assumptions which make it difficult for me to deal with. What's with "force"? What sense to you mean that in? Are you saying that I'm saying that there's some mental event by which we impose objective color on the world? If so, I understand why you think I'm wrong, because that's bat-shit crazy.

The reflective/refractive properties of a surface are objective facts in the world. To the extent that our perception of color is a perception of the reflective/refractive properties of a surface, bingo! That's objective. If color is only the perception of these objective properties of our environment, then color is only objective- not a thing which we impose upon our experience of the world.

Is this entire argument something that boils down to having technical ways to talk about a thing, and personal ways to talk about that same thing, therefor, because we have personal experiences of the thing, it's just a story we tell ourselves?
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Re: Colour

#71  Postby romansh » Feb 28, 2016 8:34 pm

Macdoc wrote:
This is like saying if we had the capability of seeing radio frequencies, the London double decker bus is red with a hint of radio.


It is - just ask any radio telescope pointing at it and for a tetrachromat it could be numerous shades you cannot perceive.
...

I have no problem of speaking pragmatically of London double-decker buses as red (with or without a hint of radio).

I have a problem of thinking of the double decker bus as red in some sort of absolute way, never mind the hint of radio.
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Re: Colour

#72  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Feb 28, 2016 9:12 pm

romansh wrote:
I have a problem of thinking of the double decker bus as red in some sort of absolute way, never mind the hint of radio.

A lot of humans have imaginary problems. A surprising number of them try to insist that these imaginary problems are philosophically important.

The bus, being covered by pigments which absorb all of the visible spectrum but red, appears to be red. You tried to make things tricky with an example of additive color with the yellow which was composed of red and green frequencies of light. But that example doesn't even apply to a bus, unless the bus appears red because it's red-hot, in which you've got bigger problems than the color of the bus. Additive and subtractive colors represent different sets of rules. Additive colors only occur when a surface is emitting light. Until very, very recently in our evolutionary history, most surfaces didn't do that sort of thing unless something imminently lethal was about to happen. So additive color isn't going to help us understand how color perception works in a way which is relevent to your red bus. There isn't a reflecting/refracting surface when you're dealing with additive colors, not in the same way as there is with a red bus. Or a red apple. Or a robin's questionably red breast (I always felt it was more a brownish-orange).

I think one thing which would really help the conversation is if we try not to flip back and forth between additive and subtractive colors or treat them as if they were equivalently important from the perspective of color perception as an evolved trait. Additive colors are a really great example of things we didn't evolve to deal with very much. Just like my earlier example with temperature perception and most naturally occurring temperatures of things being more homogeneous than what stimulates the erroneous response. I'm glad additive colors work for us the way they do, because color computer monitors, television screens, pointalist paintings, and projected movies are quite enjoyable, but they're a very large range of examples of tremendously useful illusions, really, when compared to the subtractive colors we perceive everywhere else.
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Re: Colour

#73  Postby romansh » Feb 28, 2016 9:19 pm

I am struggling here Scholastic.

We have instruments and eye-brain combinations that detect/measure photons. I think we are agreed here.

A machine spits out a number which is indication of the quantity and frequency/wavelength of the photons. I think we are in agreement here

If the incident light is from a lit object, then the readings will be an indication of the surface properties, and this is either in the brain or spectrometer; I think we are in agreement here.

Where we depart is, in my mind's eye I "see" a colour, as I suspect you do too. I think this colour is a product of the brain and the physics that goes on in between the object and the brain. This does not necessarily correspond to the object having the colour I perceive or indeed a colour at all.

A classic example is a lump of coal and a snowball. If we compare the snowball in a room with comfortable lighting at night, with a lump of coal in bright sunlight; roughly the same intensity photons strike the eye from both the coal and the snowball, with roughly the same spectra. The brain processes one as black and the other as white. Colours and shades are processed in the brain.
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Re: Colour

#74  Postby DavidMcC » Feb 28, 2016 9:31 pm

romansh wrote:...

I have a problem of thinking of the double decker bus as red in some sort of absolute way, never mind the hint of radio.

There is nothing relative about the absorption/reflection spectra of coloured surfaces, but that is the nature of physical colour.
Where does "radio" come in ffs? You are talking with a forked tongue.
EDIT: Either that or you haven't understood colour properly.
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Re: Colour

#75  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Feb 28, 2016 9:41 pm

romansh wrote:
Where we depart is, in my mind's eye I "see" a colour, as I suspect you do too. I think this colour is a product of the brain and the physics that goes on in between the object and the brain. This does not necessarily correspond to the object having the colour I perceive or indeed a colour at all.

It's the physics part of (brain + physics= color) that makes colors objective and meaningful. It doesn't matter if my "blue" is not your "blue" in my brain if my "blue" and your "blue" correspond to the same physics in the world. Given that the visual cortex is much more rigidly defined in terms of growth and development than the frontal cortex (with respect to how neurons are interconnected and spatially arranged) I think it's quite likely that my "blue" and your "blue" correspond. Not because it's necessary, but rather because it would be more work to produce brains for which this is not the case, but which could still function in the world sufficiently that they weren't at a reproductive disadvantage.

A classic example is a lump of coal and a snowball. If we compare the snowball in a room with comfortable lighting at night, with a lump of coal in bright sunlight; roughly the same intensity photons strike the eye from both the coal and the snowball, with roughly the same spectra. The brain processes one as black and the other as white. Colours and shades are processed in the brain.

Your example doesn't do what you say it does, and so I cannot get from your example to anywhere useful. Yes, colors and shades are processed in the brain. Images from telescopes are processed in computers. So what? What does this have to do with whether your red and my red are the same red? Or if the red we see corresponds to something outside our brains?
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Re: Colour

#76  Postby romansh » Feb 28, 2016 10:23 pm

ScholasticSpastic wrote:
It's the physics part of (brain + physics= color) that makes colors objective and meaningful. It doesn't matter if my "blue" is not your "blue" in my brain if my "blue" and your "blue" correspond to the same physics in the world.

This where we are talking past each other.
I am not claiming it matters (is meaningful) or not. In fact I would agree we soak all the meaning we want out of our perception of colour. What we can't say with any certainty at all is that the colour we perceive is actually the colour of the object. Your line here demonstrates my point:
    It doesn't matter if my "blue" is not your "blue" in my brain
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Re: Colour

#77  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Feb 29, 2016 12:49 am

romansh wrote:
ScholasticSpastic wrote:
It's the physics part of (brain + physics= color) that makes colors objective and meaningful. It doesn't matter if my "blue" is not your "blue" in my brain if my "blue" and your "blue" correspond to the same physics in the world.

This where we are talking past each other.
I am not claiming it matters (is meaningful) or not. In fact I would agree we soak all the meaning we want out of our perception of colour. What we can't say with any certainty at all is that the colour we perceive is actually the colour of the object. Your line here demonstrates my point:
    It doesn't matter if my "blue" is not your "blue" in my brain

ScholasticSpastic wrote:Given that the visual cortex is much more rigidly defined in terms of growth and development than the frontal cortex (with respect to how neurons are interconnected and spatially arranged) I think it's quite likely that my "blue" and your "blue" correspond. Not because it's necessary, but rather because it would be more work to produce brains for which this is not the case, but which could still function in the world sufficiently that they weren't at a reproductive disadvantage.

We cannot say with certainty that what we perceive is the same, but we can be pretty confident that it is the same, because we are all descended from the same evolutionary lineage, and equipped with the same sort of brains and the same sort of eyes, used for the same sorts of tasks. Human genetic diversity is miniscule compared to that of most other sexually reproducing organisms. As I said where I quoted myself, parts of the brain are highly structurally conservative and some other parts are not. The visual cortices and the cerebellum are both examples of highly structurally conserved parts of the brain, where we can find a lot of similarity between individuals.

While we cannot KNOW that color is the same for everyone, it would make less sense for it not to be the same than it would make for it to be the same. Barring evidence to the contrary, the most reasonable assumption is that my blue and your blue are the same blue, to the extent that we are both equipped with a full complement of functional cones.
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Re: Colour

#78  Postby romansh » Feb 29, 2016 1:02 am

Interesting assumption Scholastic:
While we cannot KNOW that color is the same for everyone, it would make less sense for it not to be the same than it would make for it to be the same.
How about this for an assumption,
With the immense complexity of the brain and its neural pathways, different brains cannot be replicated identically; so it is unlikely people's perception colour will be the same.

But either way, the line I previously quoted of yours implies you do not necessarily believe that your or my perception of colour is necessarily the colour of the object itself.
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Re: Colour

#79  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Feb 29, 2016 1:21 am

romansh wrote:But either way, the line I previously quoted of yours implies you do not necessarily believe that your or my perception of colour is necessarily the colour of the object itself.

You're being very wishy-washy about what color is. If color is our perception of the surface reflectivity/refractivity of an object, and/or our perception of the wavelengths of light emanating from a fluorescing/phosphorescing/luminescent object, then what we see is what it is.

You cannot agonize about what a thing looks like when nobody is looking at it. Because as soon as you look at it again, you will see the same thing looking like it did last time you looked at it. Unless it has materially changed in some way.

Your problem with color perception is a koan, not a significant problem. When we're not looking at a thing, it has those very same properties which, were we to look at it, would make us see specific colors.

Regarding this:
With the immense complexity of the brain and its neural pathways, different brains cannot be replicated identically; so it is unlikely people's perception colour will the same.

I disagree. Perception of color relies primarily upon highly conserved parts of the brain. Variations in brain physiology sufficient to cause significant differences in conserved parts of the brain are more likely to result in dysfunction than they are to result in a functionally different, but functional, color experience. We cannot reasonably treat the brain as if it were the same throughout. Parts of it are very, very plastic and can vary considerably between individuals, and other parts absolutely do not have the same plasticity, and will vary very little between individuals.

In order to argue reasonably that the experience of color might vary between individuals, it would be necessary to show that a significant portion of color perception occurs in more variable parts of the brain. But that would run counter to the fact that, in every animal with senses, those senses are of vital importance to the animal's survival, and they thus tend to rely most upon the most heavily conserved regions of their brains. Those brain regions are highly conserved BECAUSE it is essential that they be so conserved.

This feels like an attempt to get to spooky-cool. I understand wanting to feel that way, but people getting their own special color perceptions isn't a very fruitful direction to look for that in.
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Re: Colour

#80  Postby romansh » Feb 29, 2016 1:27 am

No not all

It is simply trying to make a really trivial point. Which you seem to agree with but somehow completely escapes you.
Last edited by romansh on Feb 29, 2016 1:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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