Colour

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Re: Colour

#741  Postby romansh » Aug 09, 2017 11:48 pm

GrahamH wrote:
romansh wrote:
GrahamH wrote:I think I'm with SoS on this. 'physical colour', the physics of light and bus and visual system is a reliable discriminator of colour. The 'my red is like your red' spook inner mental world stuff is probably illusion. The bus isn't an illusion.


Well I agree our perception of 'colour' is a reasonable discriminator of colour (or at least photon wavelengths) . That was never an issue.

Sorry, I'm lost. I don't know what you are asking.

In this post I was not asking anything. Just agreeing that our vision has a reasonable colour discrimination. And also pointing out this was never an issue at least not for this thread.

So this whole thing started when I claimed, much as the gentleman in your video, that colour was an illusion.
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Re: Colour

#742  Postby GrahamH » Aug 10, 2017 8:43 am

romansh wrote:
So this whole thing started when I claimed, much as the gentleman in your video, that colour was an illusion.


The my red / your red qualia can be called an illusion. The pigments and physics on the bus is different and not an illusion.

But there was this:
romansh wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
I think you are asking if you could see the difference in colour between the red bus and a similar red.

No, I am not Graham.

I am asking is the surface of the bus actually/physically red? The physics of light and vision suggest not.


Why do the physics of light and vision suggest the bus is not physically red? You seem to be happy that you can accurately tell what colours things are, correlated with physical properties.

And this:
romansh wrote:
And yet when I look at the bus surface, I definitely have a perception of redness. The surface is no more my perception than it is 640 nm. I am not trying to throw doubt on the physics ... just on my perception.


'Perception' seems to have two aspects - function and feel - discrimination and qualia. It may seem that function depends on qualia ut I think that is a mistake. The function is accounted for without qualia. Qualia can be illusory and not impact function. A spectrometer doesn't need qualia to tell bus red from tangerine or yellow ochre.

Rather, I think, the qualia is a reflection of function that helps us understand ourselves. It tells a story of self in the world. Characters and attributes in a story don't have to real things in themselves. The construction of the story can be useful
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Re: Colour

#743  Postby DavidMcC » Aug 10, 2017 10:16 am

romansh wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
romansh wrote:
GrahamH wrote:I think I'm with SoS on this. 'physical colour', the physics of light and bus and visual system is a reliable discriminator of colour. The 'my red is like your red' spook inner mental world stuff is probably illusion. The bus isn't an illusion.


Well I agree our perception of 'colour' is a reasonable discriminator of colour (or at least photon wavelengths) . That was never an issue.

Sorry, I'm lost. I don't know what you are asking.

In this post I was not asking anything. Just agreeing that our vision has a reasonable colour discrimination. And also pointing out this was never an issue at least not for this thread.

So this whole thing started when I claimed, much as the gentleman in your video, that colour was an illusion.

Ah, so some video is to blame for your confusion, is it?
If your "inner mental world" is to be dismissed as "spooky", how do you think we evolved a sense of colour discrimination? Therefore, I would question the validity of the video, without even having seen it. Can you give a link, so that I can comment more definitively?
The thing about illusions is that they mislead the viewer, by definition. Colour vision of natural objects in natural lighting can only mislead about details. Seriously strange coour illusions are only caused by high tech displays, ultimately because we did not evolve watching TV screens.
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Re: Colour

#744  Postby GrahamH » Aug 10, 2017 10:32 am

DavidMcC wrote:
If your "inner mental world" is to be dismissed as "spooky", how do you think we evolved a sense of colour discrimination?


Simple, the functional aspects of colour discrimination are beneficial traits. The interesting question is why we also evolved a subjective experience of colour qualia to go along with it, which we could call consciousness of colour discrimination. That has some additional benefits.

DavidMcC wrote:
The thing about illusions is that they mislead the viewer, by definition. By your definition perhaps, but not by anyone else's. Here it just means not quite as it seems. It certainly has nothing to do with misleading anyone about what is the colour of a bus.
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Re: Colour

#745  Postby DavidMcC » Aug 10, 2017 10:59 am

GrahamH wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:
If your "inner mental world" is to be dismissed as "spooky", how do you think we evolved a sense of colour discrimination?


Simple, the functional aspects of colour discrimination are beneficial traits. The interesting question is why we also evolved a subjective experience of colour qualia to go along with it, which we could call consciousness of colour discrimination. That has some additional benefits.

Subjective experience is the only way we see colours, is it not? Also, I was the one who first mentioned the evolution of colour discrimantion as a beneficial trait (years ago), so you can't use that against me.
DavidMcC wrote:
The thing about illusions is that they mislead the viewer, by definition.
By your definition perhaps, but not by anyone else's. Here it just means not quite as it seems. It certainly has nothing to do with misleading anyone about what is the colour of a bus.

What is the difference between "not quite as it seems" and "misleading"? :scratch:
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Re: Colour

#746  Postby GrahamH » Aug 10, 2017 11:49 am

DavidMcC wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:
If your "inner mental world" is to be dismissed as "spooky", how do you think we evolved a sense of colour discrimination?


Simple, the functional aspects of colour discrimination are beneficial traits. The interesting question is why we also evolved a subjective experience of colour qualia to go along with it, which we could call consciousness of colour discrimination. That has some additional benefits.

Subjective experience is the only way we see colours, is it not? Also, I was the one who first mentioned the evolution of colour discrimantion as a beneficial trait (years ago), so you can't use that against me.


I should think discriminating colours is done by the networks of cells in CNS, not by a homunculus observing qualia. We can make instruments to discriminate colours and they don't need qualia. I think the idea that we can discriminate colours by having conscious experience of redness etc. is highly dubious.

I should think you have it backwards. You experience seeing red because your brain has discriminated a colour and made a conscious event to suit.
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Re: Colour

#747  Postby DavidMcC » Aug 10, 2017 4:29 pm

GrahamH wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:
If your "inner mental world" is to be dismissed as "spooky", how do you think we evolved a sense of colour discrimination?


Simple, the functional aspects of colour discrimination are beneficial traits. The interesting question is why we also evolved a subjective experience of colour qualia to go along with it, which we could call consciousness of colour discrimination. That has some additional benefits.

Subjective experience is the only way we see colours, is it not? Also, I was the one who first mentioned the evolution of colour discrimantion as a beneficial trait (years ago), so you can't use that against me.


I should think discriminating colours is done by the networks of cells in CNS, not by a homunculus observing qualia.

Ha! Where to start?
A. You seem to ber taking terms like "homunculus" way too literally. In reality, it is part of the mind. I thought you understood that, but it seems not.
We can make instruments to discriminate colours and they don't need qualia. I think the idea that we can discriminate colours by having conscious experience of redness etc. is highly dubious.

Why do you think that? There is no evidence either way. All we know is that we are conscious of colours (unless we happen to be monochromats, of course, but they are very rare indeed). Also, "qualia" is anyhow just a word for "subjective experiences"!
I should think you have it backwards. You experience seeing red because your brain has discriminated a colour and made a conscious event to suit.

What does "making a conscious event to suit" even mean? Vision generally obviously impacts our conscious experience, becaue that is how mammals function. If we were like insects, we wouldn't have qualia, or consciousness of anything, because insects have to manage with almost no processing between sensing and action - just command instincts, which obviate the need to think about what their eyes detect.

LATE EDIT: The term "homunculus" is just an analogy for the conscious mind - it's AS IF there was a little man inside our head, watching a TV screen. That doesn't mean that there actually IS such a little man!
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Re: Colour

#748  Postby DavidMcC » Aug 10, 2017 4:35 pm

Graham, you need to understand why we see colours - it is to simplify useful, but vey complicated information that the brain is confronted with (mainly from the eyes), and needs to understand quickly. (The reliability of that was pretty good in the absence of electronic display technology.)
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Re: Colour

#749  Postby GrahamH » Aug 10, 2017 4:39 pm

:nono:
Why do you think that?
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Re: Colour

#750  Postby DavidMcC » Aug 10, 2017 4:43 pm

... Also, the reason spectrometers don't need qualia is that they can run by a computer. We are not run by a computer, but, as I said before, we DO need simplifiied visual and other information to be presented to the conscious mind, and understand it quickly, if necessary.
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Re: Colour

#751  Postby DavidMcC » Aug 10, 2017 4:54 pm

GrahamH wrote::nono:

So what is your alternative explanation for being aware of colours? :coffee:
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Re: Colour

#752  Postby romansh » Aug 10, 2017 4:58 pm

GrahamH wrote: The my red / your red qualia can be called an illusion. The pigments and physics on the bus is different and not an illusion.

I agree with both statements.

GrahamH wrote:Why do the physics of light and vision suggest the bus is not physically red? You seem to be happy that you can accurately tell what colours things are, correlated with physical properties.

This could be purely a semantic issue. Again I am quite happy to call the bus, red; speaking pragmatically and in the vernacular. But on a more philosophical bent, thinking the bus has same surface properties as I perceive, I think is a mistake. Now the homuncular "I", I am using to refer to my perceptions is also a problem or an illusion. But that is another thread.

GrahamH wrote:'Perception' seems to have two aspects - function and feel - discrimination and qualia. It may seem that function depends on qualia [b]ut I think that is a mistake. The function is accounted for without qualia. Qualia can be illusory and not impact function. A spectrometer doesn't need qualia to tell bus red from tangerine or yellow ochre.

Rather, I think, the qualia is a reflection of function that helps us understand ourselves. It tells a story of self in the world. Characters and attributes in a story don't have to real things in themselves. The construction of the story can be useful

This I think is an interesting thought. And I think there is likely some indirect evidence for this position. eg people who are blind due to some neurological reason but can respond to what the retinas have detected but has not presented itself as qualia.

That would imply qualia are a relativity new development in the evolutionary time scale ... developed with language to tell stories. I am reminded of Jayne's Bicameral Mind.

edit added new
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Re: Colour

#753  Postby DavidMcC » Aug 10, 2017 5:18 pm

romansh wrote:This could be purely a semantic issue. Again I am quite happy to call the bus, red; speaking pragmatically and in the vernacular. But on a more philosophical bent, thinking the bus has same surface properties as I perceive, I think is a mistake.
You don't perceive the surface properties, you only perceive the light reflected by that surface.
Now the homuncular "I", I am using to refer to my perceptions is also a problem or an illusion. But that is another thread.

Well, if you have a silly definition of "homunculus", I suppose it would. Actually, it's only shorthand for the conscious mind.
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Re: Colour

#754  Postby DavidMcC » Aug 10, 2017 5:55 pm

romansh wrote:That would imply qualia are relativity development in the evolutionary time scale ... developed with language to tell stories. I am reminded of Jayne's Bicameral Mind.

It's probably nonsense. A mere 3000 years isn't going to make much difference to how the human brain works, especially so long after our speciation (~100KYr ago, give or take).
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Re: Colour

#755  Postby romansh » Aug 10, 2017 6:06 pm

Dawkins on the subject of the bicameral mind:
    "It is one of those books that is either complete rubbish or a work of consummate genius, nothing in between! Probably the former, but I'm hedging my bets."

from the God Delusion
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Re: Colour

#756  Postby GrahamH » Aug 10, 2017 8:36 pm

romansh wrote:
That would imply qualia are a relativity new development in the evolutionary time scale ... developed with language to tell stories. I am reminded of Jayne's Bicameral Mind.

edit added new


I would assume it's much older than humans or language but maybe it's related to living in social groups. A theory of mind seems like a handy trait to have in social groups (heards, troupes etc) for finding effective behaviour. It might be that an organism needs be able to work out what others sense know or intend before such an understanding of self is useful and the mechanisms of doing that could become adapted to self modeling. Zoon posts about this a lot. Read Graziano on attribution of consciousness.
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Re: Colour

#757  Postby zoon » Aug 11, 2017 9:06 am

GrahamH wrote:
romansh wrote:
That would imply qualia are a relativity new development in the evolutionary time scale ... developed with language to tell stories. I am reminded of Jayne's Bicameral Mind.

edit added new


I would assume it's much older than humans or language but maybe it's related to living in social groups. A theory of mind seems like a handy trait to have in social groups (heards, troupes etc) for finding effective behaviour. It might be that an organism needs be able to work out what others sense know or intend before such an understanding of self is useful and the mechanisms of doing that could become adapted to self modeling. Zoon posts about this a lot. Read Graziano on attribution of consciousness.

Thanks for the opening, I was planning to jump in with that point. It has become apparent that human brains are heavily wired for social thinking. Hominin brains have tripled in size over the last few million years, and humans are far more intensely social than our nearest living relatives, it would be surprising if those facts were not connected. As Graziano says on his Princeton website here (in connection with his own theory of attributing attention):
Another use of an internal model of attention is to model the attentional state of other individuals to gain better prediction of their behavior. We suggest that in the human brain, similar and partly overlapping mechanisms attribute awareness to oneself and attribute awareness to others.

It is not clear when in evolution the social attribution of awareness began to emerge. The accompanying diagram places it at the start of primate evolution, 65 million years ago (MYA), but it could have begun much earlier. Perhaps most birds and mammals have some ability to attribute awareness to each other. Another possibility is that the social use of awareness expanded much later with hominins, beginning about 6 MYA. Now, in humans, consciousness plays a major role in social and cultural capability. We paint the world with perceived consciousness. Family, friends, pets, spirits, gods, these are all suffused with attributions of consciousness.


Social neuroscience is now a scientific discipline in its own right, teasing out the many brain processes involved. Many of these processes are automatic, the mirror system is not a separate part of a human brain, it’s all over it, and experiments show how immediately our brains’ understanding of other people’s thinking affects our responses, as discussed for example in a 2016 book chapter here, “The social function of the human mirror system: a motor chauvinist view.”

For humans, effective social interaction involves tracking what other individuals are thinking, remembering who knows (or believes) what and updating it in real time. It seems to me that this is where qualia come in, when we see a red bus in a busy street, we’re not just seeing the bus, our brains are also tracking the other people seeing the bus, it’s not just about the bus-in-itself, but the way other people are likely to respond to it. For example, the colour red may attract attention more than other colours, as described in a 2015 article here, "The color red attracts attention in an emotional context. An ERP study." As a human, I have inside information that other people are likely to have the same extra response to red that I have, this isn’t something I need to consider, my brain comes to that conclusion automatically. As I see it, a red quale comes with heightened attention, this is useful when thinking about what other people are likely to do. The extra jolt of attention attached to a red quale is not directly to do with the wavelength of light or the physical properties of the bus, it’s the human reaction, and it’s one that human brains have evolved to track because it improves social effectiveness.

?
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Re: Colour

#758  Postby GrahamH » Aug 11, 2017 9:24 am

This is curious. I know that what we see as orange was considered red:
Before the late 15th century, the colour orange existed in Europe, but without the name; it was simply called yellow-red. Portuguese merchants brought the first orange trees to Europe from Asia in the late 15th and early 16th century, along with the Sanskrit naranga, which gradually became part of several European languages: "naranja" in Spanish, and "orange" in English.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_(colour)


The depiction of rainbows without blue, even on paintings with blue skies, seems very strange. Skies shown as green is also very odd.

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Re: Colour

#759  Postby DavidMcC » Aug 11, 2017 1:37 pm

GrahamH wrote:...

The depiction of rainbows without blue, even on paintings with blue skies, seems very strange. Skies shown as green is also very odd.

Can you post an example of the "green skies" and rainbows without blue?
Maybe there is colour distortion in old paintings, due to pigment-bleaching in sunlight, though that is more likely to fade the reds and retain blue in my experience.
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Re: Colour

#760  Postby GrahamH » Aug 11, 2017 1:52 pm

It would help if you watched the video.
https://youtu.be/VIg5HkyauoY?t=19s for rainbows without blue. It's only 19s in FFS.

For skies I think it was actually that they had no word for blue, so green and blue were the same thing linguistically. Water was depicted with green pigments, but water can look green so that's unsurprising.
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