• jkg20
    197
    You still have to convince your opponent that in cases (1) or (2) that there is any occurent instance of redness that a person is aware of when a person has a mental image of a red snooker ball or dreams about a red snooker ball. In both cases the person imagining/dreaming might be thought of as representing the existence of a red snooker ball, but representation of a red snooker ball can be accomplished without the vehicle of representation actually being red. After all, I can represent a red snooker ball with the words "red snooker ball" but those words are not red. In case (3), of course, there very definitely is an occurent instance of redness of which the person is aware and it is the redness of the very snooker ball that the person sees.
    From this kind of perspective you are just inventing pseudo problems.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315

    But does case (3) involve a representation of a red snooker ball as well? If so, what's the vehicle for the representation in that case, is it the same kind of vehicle as for (1) and (2)?
  • Pattern-chaser
    98
    ↪Pattern-chaser

    Pattern-chaser said: "Redness is being used to describe the human experience of seeing something that is red."


    In this statement lies the crux of the issue: At one and the same time you imply that "something is red" (i.e. the something I might see in the world around me) and on the other that the experience (of seeing something that is red) is red. Presumably you are using "red" in two distinct senses here...
    jkg20

    No! I'm pretty sure the words you're replying to say this quite clearly. I remarked that the term "redness" is being used to label/represent the human experience of seeing something red. So I did not say that "the experience (of seeing something that is red) is red", I explicitly said that "Redness is being used to describe the human experience of seeing something that is red".

    1) Having a mental image of a red snooker ball.
    2) Having a dream of a red snooker ball.
    3) Seeing a red snooker ball.
    I am in no way shape or form denying that such phenomena as these exist: people engage in mental imagery, people dream and people see. The specific assumption (and an assumption is all that it is at the moment) I am bringing into the spotlight and challenging is that those three phenomena share a common factor over and above the bare fact that they are about a red snooker ball. You and Pattern-chaser appear to believe that there is such a common factor, but have provided no arguments for agreeing with you.
    jkg20

    The common factor the three share is the one you mention: they all concern a red snooker ball. But they also share the involvement of a human mind, that is (for one of three different reasons) thinking about something coloured red. In this case, only option 3 involves the human experience of seeing something that is red. The other two rely on human memory (1) or imagination (2).

    ↪Pattern-chaser

    Pattern-chaser said: "I've been trying to understand this sub-thread by adopting the (scientific) perspective of an objectivist philosopher."

    That is the source of your confusion I think - the scientific perspective you are trying to adopt is incoherent. It requires on the one hand that red actually be a visible surface property of objects in the world that provide the basis for all empirical evidence (how would a world of colourless objects provide us with any visual evidence for any scientific hypothesis?) and on the other that red is only a feature of electromagnetic radiation (and thus something that is not a visible feature of surfaces of objects).
    jkg20

    Ah. <light-bulb emoji> You are trying to make the point that colour is a property of an object out there in the world, and not a consequence of looking at that object with human eyes. With that I must disagree. Red does not exist in the Physical Universe. That which gives rise to red being seen by a human definitely does exist in the real world. I believe that beauty (or red, in this case :wink:) is in the eye of the beholder; you believe it is part of the thing you are looking at. It would've been easier if you'd just said that. :up: :grin:

    The points you make about human beings having a metaphorical use for the word "red" may well be true, but when I make a purely visual observation that a snooker ball is red, I'm not being metaphorical, and I am not talking about the frequency of electromagnetic radiation either.jkg20

    I know that you aren't being metaphorical. I wasn't either. I was commenting on the ambiguity of the word "red". This is not metaphor. Metaphor is something quite different.

    But when you observe that something is red, you are talking about the frequency of electromagnetic radiation. That is the one and only thing that registers to human eyes as being red. Nothing else can give rise to that visual observation. [Ignoring iridescence and the like.]
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    Ah. <light-bulb emoji> You are trying to make the point that colour is a property of an object out there in the world, and not a consequence of looking at that object with human eyes. With that I must disagree.
    I think @jkg20's point is that whilst you might disagree with it, neither you nor Steve Klinko have given an argument that he/she is wrong about this. We might be able to get an argument on the basis of @jkg20's reply to my last question about whether he thinks there is representation going on in the case of veridical vision, but we'll have to wait and see. Just saying that it is wrong and that physics proves it won't cut the mustard because as far as I understand it, @jkg20's position is that modern physics is contaminated by conceptual confusion about what colour is and so proves nothing.

    But when you observe that something is red, you are talking about the frequency of electromagnetic radiation.

    This seems wrong for all sorts of reasons. First, just from the ordinary language perspective there are plenty of people who talk about things being red who have not the faintest idea of what electromagnetic radiation is, so in the ordinary sense of "talking about something" they are certainly not talking about electromagnetic radiation. Also, prior to the century or so of science that culminated in Maxwell's equations, nobody had the faintest idea that electromagnetic radiation even existed, so it cannot be sensibly supposed that everyone was talking about electromagnetic radiation when they made observations about red things in the 16th century (for instance) You might want to say that what makes an observational statement like "the snooker ball is red" true involves and always did involve some story about electromagnetic radiation, but that is an entirely different claim from claiming that the person making the statement is talking about electromagnetic radiation. The difference to be sensitive to here is that between the meaning of a statement and the facts that make the statement true. Consider from the Steve Klinko perspective (with which you seem to be in sympathy) the following two statements:
    1) I saw a red snooker ball
    2) I dreamt about a red snooker ball
    For Klinko and yourself "red" has more or less the same meaning in both statements. So, if you are claiming that in (1) the meaning of the term "red" unpacks in to some kind of talk about electromagnetic radiation, then it must also do so in (2). But in (1) that unpacking is (presumably) justified on the basis that electromagnetic radiation plays a causal role in making the statement true. So, either you have to deny that in (2) what is being talked about is electromagnetic radiation, and in which case you undermine your position that "red" in 1 and 2 have the same meaning, or you have to stick to your guns and say that electromagnetic radiation plays a causal role in making (2) true, but that is just empirically false. You cannot eat your cake and have it too.
  • jkg20
    197

    Regarding whether or not seeing a red snooker ball involves representation, my inclination is to say no. The red snooker ball is just there before me, no need for any representation. Dreaming or imagining or having a mental image of a red snooker ball do involve representation. So, for me, there is a significant difference between dreaming/imagining/remembering on the one hand and seeing on the other.
    @Pattern-chaser You tallk about the "world out there" - how do you think you arrived at that concept other than seeing things "out there", and how would you see things out there if they did not have colour? A colourless world cannot be compared to a blank screen.
  • Pattern-chaser
    98
    Ah. <light-bulb emoji> You are trying to make the point that colour is a property of an object out there in the world, and not a consequence of looking at that object with human eyes. With that I must disagree. Red does not exist in the Physical Universe. That which gives rise to red being seen by a human definitely does exist in the real world. I believe that beauty (or red, in this case :wink:) is in the eye of the beholder; you believe it is part of the thing you are looking at. It would've been easier if you'd just said that. :up: :grin:Pattern-chaser

    ↪Pattern-chaser

    I think jkg20's point is that whilst you might disagree with it, neither you nor Steve Klinko have given an argument that he/she is wrong about this. We might be able to get an argument on the basis of @jkg20's reply to my last question about whether he thinks there is representation going on in the case of veridical vision, but we'll have to wait and see. Just saying that it is wrong and that physics proves it won't cut the mustard because as far as I understand it, @jkg20's position is that modern physics is contaminated by conceptual confusion about what colour is and so proves nothing.
    MetaphysicsNow

    OK, that seems fair enough. ... But ... I'm still not quite sure what the (sub-)topic of conversation is. :chin: So,

    What is the (sub-)topic you wish to discuss? Is it whether colour exists out there in the Physical Universe, or is it the distinction between red and redness (i.e. the human experience of perceiving something red), or something else? :chin:
  • Pattern-chaser
    98
    @Pattern-chaser You talk about the "world out there" - how do you think you arrived at that concept other than seeing things "out there", and how would you see things out there if they did not have colour? A colourless world cannot be compared to a blank screen.jkg20

    Let's begin by saying that my answer is given as a human. I.e. I am not considering how another sentient but non-human being might 'see' the world.

    Of course I have seen things, and heard from other humans of things they have seen, and so on. And in this way, I learned of the world and its contents. I see those things as having colour, because "colour" is the label we use to refer to that range of electromagnetic radiation we also label as "visible light". And most of the things I see either reflect or emit visible light, which my eyes can detect. Which is why I can 'see' them, of course. But is 'colour' an attribute of the things I see, or is it an artefact of human sight/perception? (Just to be clear, I do not refer to the presence of the human label "colour" in the Physical Universe. I refer to that which the label "colour" refers to, which I think is your intention.)

    Am I on the track you wish to consider, or have I deviated without knowing it?

    (And yes, you are right to observe I have not yet offered any justification for my belief that colour is a human creation, and has no (human-independent) existence in the world. I will attempt that if/when you confirm that this is the (sub-)topic you wish to discuss.)

    Pattern-chaser

    "Who cares, wins"
  • jkg20
    197
    Hello - yes, that's right: my position is that red is first and foremost a feature we discover, by sight, as part of the world. When I genuinely see a red snooker ball, there is an instantiation of the property red right out there in the world - consitutive of the visible surface of the snooer ball - and I see that instantiation of red. Electromagnetic radiation may play a role in explaining how I get to see that instantiation of red, but I do NOT see electromagnetic radiation and electromagnetic radiation is only derivately coloured. Furthermore, as a sighted person, my concept of "the world out there" is grounded precisely on the basis of seeing such instantiations of colour.
  • Pattern-chaser
    98
    The first and most obvious response that occurs to me is: if all humans are completely removed from the Physical Universe, does 'red' remain? I.e. is 'red' human-independent? It doesn't seem so to me. And, if I am a non-human intelligence, whose senses respond to different things than yours, maybe I 'see' all of what you call "light" as having just one 'colour'. In which case, to me there is no colour in the world; it's just something you (humans) invented. :chin: Or maybe I don't sense what you call light at all. Maybe I can only 'see' (what you call) X-rays and gamma rays. Where is 'red' for me? [It looks like it's inside your head....] So, in your words:

    Furthermore, as a non-human person, my concept of "the world out there" is grounded precisely on the basis of seeing only (what you call) X-rays and gamma rays. Where in the world is 'red', human? :chin:
  • Pattern-chaser
    98
    When I genuinely see a red snooker ball, there is an instantiation of the property red right out there in the world - consitutive of the visible surface of the snooker ball - and I see that instantiation of red.jkg20

    An instantiation is created dynamically, which would seem to support the notion of 'red' being a human thing, existing only in human minds. If it is out there in the world, 'red' would not be instantiated, because it would already be there, as a property/attribute of the thing that you see as being red.

    electromagnetic radiation is only derivately colouredjkg20

    Yes, because red derives from humans and the way we see and perceive things.
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