• Douglas Alan
    161
    The point is colors do not actually existZelebg

    Colors are properties, and properties exist.

    |>ouglas
  • Douglas Alan
    161
    The point is colors do not actually exist, and that is a fact in the sense that in the outside 3d person empirical reality there are only electric and magnetic fields, and they are transparent. There is no field of purple or substance of green. Therefore, we do not see colors, we "see" something else as colors. For example, colors could be mapped to magnetic density or electric voltage scales, or different orientation of molecules, or even symbols and numbers in some higher order representation mapping.Zelebg

    This line of reasoning leads to madness. You end up with nothing but quantum probability waves existing and nothing else.

    |>ouglas
  • christian2017
    1.4k
    That is not it. I guess I failed to formulate the question properly.

    The point is colors do not actually exist, and that is a fact in the sense that in the outside 3d person empirical reality there are only electric and magnetic fields, and they are transparent. There is no field of purple or substance of green. Therefore, we do not see colors, we "see" something else as colors. For example, colors could be mapped to magnetic density or electric voltage scales, or different orientation of molecules, or even symbols and numbers in some higher order representation mapping.
    Zelebg

    "The point is colors do not actually exist, and that is a fact in the sense that in the outside 3d person empirical reality there are only electric and magnetic fields, and they are transparent."

    This is fun. You realize snakes see colors right? There are indirect ways of proving that. Perhaps we should argue that blue could be interpreted as red based on how the radio (eye is antenna and brain is the radio) (all communication devices whether passive or active have radios) wants to display the image. Perhaps the best way to look at it is, color is an enormous spectrum that can be modified with phase shift. Phase shift is taking a wave or a set of points that are plotted on a graph (not necessarily a set with a an easy to define pattern) and moving that whole set of points in either to the left or to the right. What this allows is for two different users (human and snake) to use the same colors to represent different light frequencies.
  • Douglas Alan
    161
    Moby Dick there too?creativesoul

    Let S = the set of all x where x is a sequence of English sentences.

    Let T = the set of all s such that s is an element of S and s forms a story with a named whale in it.

    I maintain that Moby Dick is an element of T, even in the counterfactual situation in which Moby Dick was never written.

    Conclusion: The novel Moby Dick exists as an element of a set, even were it were never written.

    |>ouglas

    P.S. If you want to quibble about rigid designators, the novel that is in T in the counterfactual situation may not be the same novel as the one written by Melville, but it would have all the same words in the same order.
  • Zelebg
    599
    This line of reasoning leads to madness. You end up with nothing but quantum probability waves existing and nothing else.

    It's a simple logical fact. What is your objection exactly?
  • Zelebg
    599
    This is fun. You realize snakes see colors right?

    Sorrry, I did not know you are insane.
  • Zelebg
    599
    Colors are properties, and properties exist.

    Aha. Forget I said anything, I'm out of here.
  • Douglas Alan
    161
    It's a simple logical fact. What is your objection exactly?Zelebg

    So, you are asserting, for instance, that people don't exist. Only quantum probability waves exist?

    |>ouglas
  • leo
    831
    The point is colors do not actually exist, and that is a fact in the sense that in the outside 3d person empirical reality there are only electric and magnetic fields, and they are transparent. There is no field of purple or substance of green. Therefore, we do not see colors, we "see" something else as colors. For example, colors could be mapped to magnetic density or electric voltage scales, or different orientation of molecules, or even symbols and numbers in some higher order representation mapping.Zelebg

    But how do you know there are only electric and magnetic fields? Do you see them? Or you have inferred their existence? Would you have been able to infer their existence if you didn't see colors? No? So how can you say that electric and magnetic fields exist but colors do not?

    Colors exist in the sense that you perceive them. If you assume they don't exist, you're assuming a great part of your perception doesn't exist. And if they don't exist, how do you know you're perceiving anything remotely close to reality? If reality is completely different from what you perceive then why would you trust anything that you infer from what you perceive?
  • creativesoul
    8.7k
    You're still confused over the same point. There are three completely distinct things here: (1) frequency, (2) spectral distribution, (3) color.InPitzotl

    That's incorrect. As you yourself say, "photoreceptors are just doing what they do". And what they do, with respect to responding to light, is send signals proportional to some amount of isomerization of photopsin molecules that they contain. That's it; nothing else. That thing is (3). And if (3) cannot distinguish between spectral distributions (2), then (3) cannot be said to measure which (2) you have. If (3) cannot distinguish frequency components (1) in a spectral distribution, (3) cannot be said to measure frequencies in a spectral distribution. (3) can do neither of these things, so it measures neither.

    To reach your conclusion from the assessment requires conflating (3) with (1) and (2). My assessment contains no such conflating; that's all on you.
    InPitzotl

    :meh:
  • creativesoul
    8.7k
    Mantis shrimp's eyes measure... what they measure. The question is what they measure. I define color in terms of what eyes measure in color vision; that's the colorimetric definitionInPitzotl

    Eyes do not measure. Anthropomorphism.
  • InPitzotl
    314
    Eyes do not measure. Anthropomorphism.creativesoul
    You're reaching. Eyes do this:
    measure
    7: To serve as a means of measuring.
    // a thermometer measures temperature
    — Merriam webster
    link

    ...and here's an example of you using that sense of the word measure:
    According to this criterion, it would make sense to say that a mantis shrimp's eyes are measuring light frequencies and distributions...creativesoul

    So to dissect this more, eyes do not measure (m-w, entry 2, use 7) frequency components; and they do not measure (m-w, entry 2, use 7) spectral distributions. Instead, they measure (m-w, entry 2, use 7) equivalence classes of spectral distributions.
  • creativesoul
    8.7k
    Eyes do not measure. Anthropomorphism.
    — creativesoul
    You're reaching.
    InPitzotl

    :meh:
  • creativesoul
    8.7k
    here's an example of you using that sense of the word measure:
    According to this criterion, it would make sense to say that a mantis shrimp's eyes are measuring light frequencies and distributions...
    — creativesoul
    InPitzotl

    An astute reader will note that it's a case of following from your use(s) and showing that it leads to a reductio ad absurdum.
  • InPitzotl
    314
    An astute reader will note that it's a case of following from your use(s) and showing that it leads to a reductio ad absurdum.creativesoul
    So where is this reductio ad absurdum argument that I've been waiting now 7 days for you and/or some "astute reader" to present?
  • Daz
    34
    There are at least three distinct meanings for the word "color": 1) the type of visual experience we can have. 2) the property of a material object that causes this type of experience. 3) a ray of light at a certain frequency.

    There are some problems with both 2) and 3).

    With 2): The color that a material object appears to someone looking at it depends on the ambient light reflecting off it. (You may have been surprised after buying clothing in a store and then going outside and noticing it seems to be a different color in sunlight.) In addition, even one person's right eye and left eye can perceive color differently at the same time. As well as the Land effect, which is that color perception also depends on on the perception of colors surrounding something you are looking at. And so, the "color" of a material object depends on some things besides the object itself.

    And with 3): Although physicists understand that it is the frequencies of light rays entering the eye that are the main determiners of how that light is perceived, there are actually infinitely many combinations of light rays that give rise to the same color perception. (The exceptions to this are pure spectral colors.)

    At the very least, in order to speak intelligently about colors it's important to say which definition is being referred to.
  • TheMadFool
    7.2k
    a. we actually see colors (colors exist)
    b. we only think we see colors (colors do not exist)
    Zelebg

    Well, I'd say that an object reflects light according to its own physics and there definitely exists differences in the frequencies of light bouncing off an object into our eyes, as understood within the framework of the science of optics.

    However, the color itself, as it appears to us, maybe mind-generated and thus, colors may not exist as an integral part of an object in view.

    It maybe like a children's coloring book. Just like a child paints in the colors on the outlines of the figures in the book, our brains may also be doing something similar with mind-generated colors being projected onto the general outline of objects depending on what frequency of light is reflected into the eyes.
  • Borraz
    29

    Both propositions are plausible.
    Homer expresses it when Athena takes away the mist that covered her eyes (Il., V 128-129). Human beings do not see well, but perceive other things. We do not see color and we only see color (except if you suffer from achromatopsia).
    The problem is another, already cited by Leibniz: that two scientific theories about the same objects in the world can be equally consistent in themselves, but inconsistent with each other.

    Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
  • Borraz
    29
    Correction: "Homer expresses it when Athena removes the mist that covered the eyes of Diomedes"
    Sorry.
  • Cabbage Farmer
    248
    a. we actually see colors (colors exist)
    b. we only think we see colors (colors do not exist)
    Zelebg
    I'm not sure why there is still said to be a "philosophical problem" of color. I'm sure there must be something very wrong with my way of thinking about it. How could it be so simple:

    It turns out that what we characterize as similarities and differences of color in visual perception correspond to similarities and differences in the wavelength or frequency of light. Our specific color concepts, like "red" and "green", correspond to specific ranges of wavelength of light. We may say instances of light in the range of wavelength corresponding to a such a color-concept are instances of "light of that color", or instances of "light with that color"... I'm not sure it matters what particular phrases we employ for this purpose.

    It seems to me we might as well say an instance of light in the range of a color-concept is an instance of that color. In other words, colors exist in the natural world: An instance of color is an instance of light. An instance of light is an instance of color. "Color" is another word for light, or another word for the "property" of light called its "wavelength" or "frequency".

    Is there some reason this way of thinking about color is not generalizable to light of any wavelength? Do we need to limit the concept to the range of "visible light"? Visible to which sort of perceiver...?

    Our perception of color is partial and sometimes confused, somewhat as our perception of shape is partial and sometimes confused. Should we say that problems of threshold, partiality, context, or illusion are somehow more severe or perplexing in the case of perception of color than in perception of brightness, or loudness, or pitch...?


    Accordingly, we might say the light-relative features or properties of a visible thing are also color-relative features or properties. Where we say a thing emits, reflects, absorbs, or transmits light, we may say a thing emits, reflects, absorbs, or transmits color (or if you insist, ..."colored light", or ..."light of some color").

    Ordinary talk about "red things" would be unpacked as loose talk about things that emit or reflect red light. I see no reason to insist a thing that looks red "under ordinary circumstances" must be said to be red, to have under all circumstances the property of "redness" or of "being red". It seems simpler to say this thing has light-relative properties which make it emit or reflect red light in some circumstances and not in others, and no more.
  • christian2017
    1.4k
    a. we actually see colors (colors exist)
    b. we only think we see colors (colors do not exist)
    Zelebg

    It all depends on how you define colors. If you define colors as indicators our eyes and brains perceive from the varying electromagnetic spectrum that hits our eyes after having bounced of an object that rejected that particular frequency (red rose rejects red light), then yes colors exist. Also the typical definition of color common (substantial subset of population) to most people, colors also exist.

    Perhaps with a different definition of light, then colors in that case don't exist.
  • Relativist
    1.5k
    Is there some reason this way of thinking about color is not generalizable to light of any wavelength?Cabbage Farmer
    Yes: the quality of the experience itself (the qualia). This is not decomposible.
  • Cabbage Farmer
    248
    Yes: the quality of the experience itself (the qualia). This is not decomposible.Relativist
    So far as I can tell, there are things in the world called dogs, and things in the world called perceptual experiences of dogs, and it's advisable not to get our thoughts about the two confused. Likewise with colors and experiences of colors.

    I take it the question I've been addressing here is primarily a question about colors, not about the experience of colors.

    Of course we acquire and refine our conceptions of things in the world on the basis of experience.

    We acquire and refine our conception of color on the basis of experience, specifically with respect to objective features of our experience of colors, much as we acquire and refine our conception of dog on the basis of experience, specifically with respect to objective features of our experience of dogs.

    We refine "empirical concepts" like these in the course of what we might call empirical investigation, or phenomenological investigation, or investigation of nature... such phrases mean about the same thing to me.

    That's the sense in which I was addressing the question "do colors exist". As if it were a question about colors, not a question about experience of colors.


    Of course the investigation of things doesn't stop at the boundary of our sense receptors. Each of our external senses puts us in touch with phenomena in its own special way. So the sort of objective phenomena corresponding in general to visual or auditory perception, for instance -- the things outside our heads that we call light and sound -- play a special role in our experience of the world as well as in our phenomenological investigations, our investigation of nature, of the world as it appears to us.

    The experience of color and brightness is correlated with objective properties of light, as the experience of pitch and loudness is correlated with objective properties of sound. The special role of these features of our experience and of the correlated features of the world outside our heads consists in the fact that light is a factor in all our visual perception, and in the fact that sound is a factor in all our auditory perception.

    So whenever I am in position to make observational judgments about a dog on the basis of visual perception, I am in position to make observational judgments about light on the basis of the same visual perception. All I need do is vary the concepts according to which and in terms of which I make observational judgments on the basis of the same perception. Likewise, when I'm in position to make observational judgments about a dog on the basis of auditory perception, I'm in position to make observational judgments about sound on the basis of the same perception.

    It seems the same perceptual occasion likewise puts me in position to make observational judgments about the one who perceives the dog and the light, the perceiver, namely myself. And it seems I may follow the lead of such experiences in various ways, for instance depending on whether I aim to investigate or otherwise interact with the thing in the world called the dog, or the thing in the world called the light in virtue of which I see the dog, or the thing in the world called the perceiver of that dog and that light.

    I suppose we may say the determination of an "object of perception" depends in part on the "perceptual experience" -- the perceptual "phenomena" or "appearances" -- of a given perceptual occasion, and in part on the conceptual capacities exercised on that occasion regarding those perceptual appearances.


    By contrast, the "qualitative character" or "qualia" of perceptual experience are notoriously difficult to characterize, for anything we might say to describe the character of their appearance seems to correspond to some objective feature of the world, for instance in the way that our experience of brightness and color is correlated with objective properties of the light outside our heads, and in the way that our experience of anything is correlated with things and processes inside our heads.

    The difficulties associated with talk of qualia have led me to brush the concept aside in my own discourse on experience. For my purposes, it's not clear what I might gain by following that difficult and dubious path. Of course I don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. I continue to speak of sentience and introspective awareness. I still find occasion to speak of "subjectivity" or the "subjective character" of experience, but in such cases I take it I'm merely characterizing the respect in which any experience involves and is relative to "a subject", the thing in the world that "has" the experience in question -- the one who "has appearances" and "is appeared to", the one who "has awareness" and "is aware". For instance, this speaking animal.


    Perhaps you've made more progress than I have in sorting out the difficulties associated with talk of qualia. Does the concept of composition help in this regard? I'm not even sure I understand how that term is supposed to apply in this context:

    What does it mean to call a thing composed or composable, decomposed or decomposable, in the relevant sense?

    I wonder, is everything that is decomposable a thing that has been composed? And is everything that is not decomposable a thing that is not and cannot be composed?

    For instance, should we say abstract objects are not composed or composable, hence are not decomposable, and that all perceptible things, and all or nearly all physical things, are composed and composable, hence decomposable?


    Does it help us to understand colors, to say that our experience of colors has subjective features that are "not decomposable"? Does it help us to understand dogs, to say that our experience of dogs has subjective features that are "not decomposable"?
  • Relativist
    1.5k
    For instance, should we say abstract objects are not composed or composable, hence are not decomposable, and that all perceptible things, and all or nearly all physical things, are composed and composable, hence decomposable?


    Does it help us to understand colors, to say that our experience of colors has subjective features that are "not decomposable"? Does it help us to understand dogs, to say that our experience of dogs has subjective features that are "not decomposable"?
    Cabbage Farmer
    We can't fully understand redness without having experienced it. Suppose you'd never experience either red or blue, but you knew all the physical aspects of these colors (the physics of reflected light, wavelengths, the mechanisms of visual perception...). I present to you 2 balls: a red and a blue. Can you identify which is which?

    Dogs are a bit different. You could learn enough about the characteristics of dogs that you could pick one out of a lineup. The difference is composition: dogs can be uniquely described by a set of properties you can recognize.

    Some abstractions are decomposible, others are not. Squares can be decomposed; a point cannot.
  • InPitzotl
    314
    We can't fully understand redness without having experienced it. Suppose you'd never experience either red or blue, but you knew all the physical aspects of these colors (the physics of reflected light, wavelengths, the mechanisms of visual perception...). I present to you 2 balls: a red and a blue. Can you identify which is which?Relativist
    This is kind of a tricky question; it's asking for an intuitive answer, but the intuitions don't necessarily hold. The real answer to this question is, possibly. A person who both has never experienced red or blue, and lacks knowledge of the physical aspects of those colors, still might nevertheless be able to distinguish red from blue; such an individual is merely qualifying for type 1 blindsight. Technically a person who has knowledge might be able to distinguish by some "trick", but persons with type 1 blindsight can distinguish by "unknown non-conscious means".

    This leads to even tricker questions. (a) Does such a person experience redness non-consciously? (b) Could such a person experience redness non-consciously?
  • Relativist
    1.5k
    I'm referring to a paradigm of phenomenal consciousness expounded by Michael Tye. He suggests that qualia, like redness, are mental experiences (mental phenomena). They correlate with aspects of the world (e.g. wavelengths of reflected light), and thus provide us with a capability to discriminate among the objects of the world.

    When one considers the physical mechanisms of sight, I expect it would be possible to physically intervene, and artificially produce the nerve impulses that lead to the phenomenal experience, but even so, the mental phenomenon seems irreducible. We can consider it something like a hallucination, but it is a hallucination that correlates with the world.

    (a) Does such a person experience redness non-consciously? (b) Could such a person experience redness non-consciously?InPitzotl
    I don't think it makes sense to say we can have non-conscious experiences. The quale "redness" IS the experience, according to the paradigm anyway.
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