• Zelebg
    459
    Colours are five-dimensional conceptual structures of chemical and energy relations.

    Sounds true enough. Why five dimensions?


    They exist potentially as values - any reference to the ‘actuality’ of a colour is a reduction of information using particular value structures: light wave frequencies, chemical ‘signatures’, computer ‘code’, etc.

    I can’t disagree, and you definitely said something, but it feels kind of empty. Can you elaborate on ‘reduction of information’ thing with some examples if possible?


    So in the above metaphor, I would say that the colour yellow exists potentially in the program, not actually in the computer.

    Is that different than how colors exist in the brain / mind?
  • Sir Philo Sophia
    189
    I would say we see color for the evolutionary reason that reflectivity of that small band of the electromagnetic radiation is really useful for navigating the environment.Marchesk

    that is not an ontology between colors and electromagnetic radiation. You instead seem to be stating a utility.

    recall:
    how would you say the colors we 'see' are ontologically "related to the reflectivity of electromagnetic radiation in the visible range"?Sir Philo Sophia
  • Sir Philo Sophia
    189
    What in the world is not clear about better vision being better than worse vision?Zelebg

    if better vision has more (e.g., energy) cost than its survival benefits then Darwin would say that better performing vision is even worse than worse vision.
  • Zelebg
    459
    if better vision has more (e.g., energy) cost than its survival benefits then Darwin would say that better performing vision is even worse than worse vision.

    Yes, and I have no clue what are we talking about now.
  • Banno
    7.1k
    A first reply...

    Is the moon made of cheese?Marchesk

    That's just asking if the word "cheese" is suitable for describing the stuff the moon is made of.

    IF the task at hand is answering a petulant three-year-old's questions, it might be suitable. Less so if your name is Neil Armstrong.

    It's not too hard to set up a possible Kripke to argue that cheese is a kind, that the moon could never be made of cheese because in every possible world cheese is a coagulant of mammals milk, and the moon could never be such a thing.
  • Banno
    7.1k
    A second reply...
    Is the moon made of cheese?Marchesk

    So do colors exist?Marchesk

    Notice the differing logical structure of these two sentences. The first asks if a simple first-order predication is true: is F(a)?. The second asks about the domain of a predicate, are there things that are coloured? ∃(x)f(x)?

    This difference in structure shows why it is so much easier to see the second as asking 'bout word use.
  • Sir Philo Sophia
    189
    1. How do emergent properties result in self-awareness ( of colors)?
    2. What kind of survival value is essential in choosing colors for cars; guitars, houses, clothing hair color, makeup, et al.?
    3. Do human's exclusively rely on colors in the successful search for their food ?
    4. Was prehistoric man concerned about the color of their prey before they chose to kill it?
    5. What do you think Darwin would say about the metaphysical features of red evoking or conveying excitement from the color wheel?
    3017amen

    Darwin's theories do not apply to #1 or #5. I already hinted at #2 in my above reply to you. See:
    It is well known that primates effectively use color to ID a wide variety of foods (incl. fruits and other edibles). Color is used by many hyper poisonous creatures to warn others (who can see color) don't mess w/ me, or you die.Sir Philo Sophia

    re #3, certainly not. re #4, color and vision genes are highly preserved from our primate cousins, so Darwin (et. al.) would say your #4 is pretty irrelevant b/c they already had color vision/qualia inherited from their primates, whether it helped them to kill prey is not so material as to Darwin's theories. I personally would think, for example, that if there was a light brown animal hiding within green bushes it would be much more effective it have color vision.
  • Sir Philo Sophia
    189
    I actually do not see there are two distinct interpretations on the question of the existence of colors.Zelebg

    I think you are right that your question was non-trivial, but only b/c of your "b" part. This part I was saying was trivial:
    "a. we actually see colors (colors exist)"

    for which I said:
    "is it not so obvious that colors as we perceive cannot 'exist' in the mater itself? I mean, if nothing else, our eyes only receive all the light wavelengths (color) that was rejected by the object's surface, so by physics and definition that object cannot be said to have a color for which it rejects. Hence, obviously, no objects have the phenomenon of being/having the colors our eyes see."
  • Possibility
    1k
    Sounds true enough. Why five dimensions?Zelebg

    ‘Colour value’ refers to differences in frequency (hue) and amplitude (intensity/brightness) of quantum wave functions (photons) moving at the speed of light on a particular trajectory between a fixed point and a fixed observer or measuring apparatus.

    When we experience colour, however, we’re continually making adjustments to the relative four-dimensional information between the observer and the point of observation - so this value is always relative to 4D relativity.

    I can’t disagree, and you definitely said something, but it feels kind of empty. Can you elaborate on ‘reduction of information’ thing with some examples if possible?Zelebg

    The ‘reduction of information’ just refers to the zeroing of variables as described above. We can calculate these colour values only in relation to fixed 4D relations between two points.

    Is that different than how colors exist in the brain / mind?Zelebg

    In the computer program, the information for colour value is relative to fixed relations between the screen and viewer, and has been reduced to a set of numerical values and then reduced again to binary relations.

    Colour exists potentially in the brain as conceptual or five-dimensional relations, developed through prediction error to be relatively accurate in relation to our experiences so far. The information we refer to as ‘colour’ is irreducible in this sense.
  • Zelebg
    459
    Colour exists potentially in the brain as conceptual or five-dimensional relations, developed through prediction error to be relatively accurate in relation to our experiences so far. The information we refer to as ‘colour’ is irreducible in this sense.

    Sounds good, but I don't know what to do with it. It's too general, can you narrow down "development" thing - developed via what elements, what value / property is that preduction error relative to?
  • Possibility
    1k
    Sounds good, but I don't know what to do with it.Zelebg

    What is it you were expecting to be able do with it?

    It's too general, can you narrow down "development" thing - developed via what elements, what value / property is that preduction error relative to?Zelebg

    All of them. We have the capacity to distinguish between relative colour values by comparing instances of certain chemical, spatial and temporal relations of sensory input in relation to chemical changes in light cone receptors. But we’re motivated to learn through interaction with other humans to associate those patterns with certain sounds/words and other conceptual relations, and then refine these distinctions in how we predict interactions with the world.

    A toddler who points to a rose and says ‘red’ will experience prediction error when his mother’s response is ‘no, that’s pink’. His brain, at this stage relatively flexible, will include this instance of perceived colour value (including other relative sensory input) in his developing conceptualisation of ‘pink’, and exclude it from his conceptualisation of ‘red’, while also relating ‘pink’ to his conceptualisation of ‘rose’. An adult who encounters the same situation is less likely to respond to this prediction error by changing his prediction, and will filter or ignore the new information so his experience is consistent with his prediction. Of course, he could also realise his own error when he removes his sunglasses (and perhaps even confirm or test this new prediction by replacing and removing his sunglasses several times, just to be sure). In this way, we learn to more accurately recognise colours in dim or unusual lighting, at different times of the day, underwater, from a distance, etc.
  • Zelebg
    459
    What is it you were expecting to be able do with it?

    I was hoping you to say something about why those differences / changes / relations, whatever they physically are, why they feel like they feel, where do “warm / cold”, “sweet / sour”, “bright / dark” come from, are they arbitrary, why “bright / dark“ instead of “abc / xyz”, something along those lines.
  • Mariana Sottile
    1
    Color does exist but not all the colors we know are real. Pink and purple are not real colors in nature it is just our brains playing tricks on us. Our eyes have 3 cones: Blue, Red, and Green.
    When it comes to digital and printer ink there are 4 colors that makeup all the colors we see on screens and when we print images. These colors are Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and black. How light reflects off of things and into our eyes is very important too. All I can say is I love seeing color and I'm thankful for my color cones.
  • Possibility
    1k
    I was hoping you to say something about why those differences / changes / relations, whatever they physically are, why they feel like they feel, where do “warm / cold”, “sweet / sour”, “bright / dark” come from, are they arbitrary, why “bright / dark“ instead of “abc / xyz”, something along those lines.Zelebg

    When you say ‘physically’, do you mean in relation to what is observable/measurable or in relation to physics/chemistry/biology?

    What you’re referring to is how we conceptualise each interoception of affect in the body: ‘sweet/sour’ refers to a relative distinction in patterns of chemical relations between the different types of ‘taste’ receptors on the tongue. The words are how we have come to signify these distinctions within the linguistic value system we share, in relation to the instances of relative sensory input (including internal affect) that share each distinction. So the sight of a fruit that is ‘green’ in colour is most likely understood to produce a ‘sour’ taste and possibly relates to predictions of negative affect from the digestive system - so we understand that eating it would likely be ‘bad’. But we also understand that not all green fruit is ‘sour’ or ‘bad’ to eat, so other distinctions such as skin texture, shape and size contribute to the value system by which we understand the relation of ‘colour’ to ‘fruit’ to the distinction of ‘sweet/sour’, before taste receptors are even required.

    Words that signify the distinction between a ‘melon’, ‘kiwifruit’ or ‘mango’ that is ‘green’, for instance, enable us to share far more complex information with present sensory input than one taste-receptor’s chemical response to a ‘sweet/sour’ taste. But conversely, describing a ‘fruit’ as ‘sour’ offers little information unless one is aware of the relative sensory information: if it’s ‘round/oblong’, ‘small/large’, the colour and texture of its skin and flesh, etc. All of these are also linguistic values that relate to relative distinctions in the chemical and/or spatio-temporal relations of visual and tactile sensory systems.

    These complex 5D value relations, as irreducible relational structures of the mind, enable us to make predictions about potential interactions in the world, and also to make predictions about the probability of those potential interactions beyond the value of present sensory input. This enables us to determine and initiate actions that not only anticipate these predictions, but can also interact with their potential or probability of occurring. In this way, we have the capacity to patiently value a green fruit for its potential to develop into a sweet, reddened mango with time, or to sprinkle sugar on a lime to benefit from its nutrients without being deterred by the sour taste - understanding that time will not improve the colour or taste values of the green ‘lime’, nor will a sprinkling of sugar improve the nutritional value of a green ‘mango’. We learn these value systems and structures by developing relations with other experiencing subjects with whom our past interactions enable a prediction of value to the system (we don’t care how much you know until we know how much you care).
  • Zelebg
    459
    When you say ‘physically’, do you mean in relation to what is observable/measurable or in relation to physics/chemistry/biology?

    Physical is what is observable / measurable in principle, in a sense that if ghost or souls can be observed / measured they too would automatically then fall into physical category. Existing and being physical / material is one and same thing, i.e. there is no such thing as immaterial existence by definition. I consider chemistry / biology to be physical / material assuming we can at least in principle or even just indirectly measure or observe everything about it.

    Can you say is color a property of something, is it a substance of some kind, maybe entity or object, or whatever the most general category colors belong to?
  • Possibility
    1k
    Physical is what is observable / measurable in principle, in a sense that if ghost or souls can be observed / measured they too would automatically then fall into physical category. Existing and being physical / material is one and same thing, i.e. there is no such thing as immaterial existence by definition. I consider chemistry / biology to be physical / material assuming we can at least in principle or even just indirectly measure or observe everything about it.Zelebg

    This is where you and I differ, because I consider potential and possible existence as two types of ‘immaterial’ existence, and what is observable/measurable as a reduction of these aspects of reality. The uncertainty or relativity with which we must consider this ‘immaterial’ existence, and its irreducibility to the apparent certainty or ‘objectivity’ of the physical/material does not preclude its existence. I’m not saying that ghosts or souls are real as such, but that the subjective experiences expressed as ‘ghost’ or ‘soul’ have a potential or at least possible existence that matters to a comprehensive understanding of reality.

    Can you say is color a property of something, is it a substance of some kind, maybe entity or object, or whatever the most general category colors belong to?Zelebg

    I get that you like to still think of the world as consisting of ‘things’, objects, entities or substances, but in my opinion this is a limited - and limiting - perspective of reality. I’m under the impression that most physicists now can at least appreciate the world as consisting of interrelated events, rather than ‘objects in time’ (which is necessarily relative).

    Colour can be considered a property of a certain event, in which a moving ‘object’ in spacetime (event) is observed/measured by a moving ‘object’ in spacetime (event). It is neither a property of the observed object nor of the observer - rather a property of the immaterial or potential relation between them, relative to the changing properties of the two relating ‘events’.
  • Zelebg
    459
    This is where you and I differ, because I consider potential and possible existence as two types of ‘immaterial’ existence, and what is observable/measurable as a reduction of these aspects of reality. The uncertainty or relativity with which we must consider this ‘immaterial’ existence, and its irreducibility to the apparent certainty or ‘objectivity’ of the physical/material does not preclude its existence. I’m not saying that ghosts or souls are real as such, but that the subjective experiences expressed as ‘ghost’ or ‘soul’ have a potential or at least possible existence that matters to a comprehensive understanding of reality.

    I don’t see any difference between possible and potential, but in any case unknown event or entity from the future holds no explanation about objects and their properties in the past and present time.

    Even possible future events have to have their potential embedded in the physical state of matter of the past. You can not define anything, not even a potential, with absolutely nothing. Future possibility has to lie in something, and there is no other something but physical and material something, because everything else is nothing by definition.
  • sime
    479
    'Phenomenal red' is an estimator of 'optical red' in common situations. No necessary relationship between phenomenal colour and optical qualities can be defined nor established, due to the impossibility of exhaustively specifying and testing their relationship.
  • Possibility
    1k
    I don’t see any difference between possible and potential, but in any case unknown event or entity from the future holds no explanation about objects and their properties in the past and present time.Zelebg

    To the extent that the event or entity is unknown, of course it doesn’t. But we aren’t entirely ignorant of potential or possible events in the future, just as we aren’t ignorant of events in the past. I have sufficient information, for instance, to confidently say that my front door ‘is green’, even though right now it’s dark outside and difficult to see, and I’m not looking at it. I’m not referring to an actual property of the door, but to my perception of the potential for this particular ‘object’ to be observed as ‘green’ under most relevant conditions. It’s the information from past and present events that hold an explanation about the uncertain potential or possibility of future or past events, not the other way around.

    Even possible future events have to have their potential embedded in the physical state of matter of the past. You can not define anything, not even a potential, with absolutely nothing. Future possibility has to lie in something, and there is no other something but physical and material something, because everything else is nothing by definition.Zelebg

    The apparent ‘embedding’ of potential is just how you conceptualise it. The potential of any future event is a subjective relation of the information you have about events in the past and present to the uncertainty of that event occurring in the future. You cannot define a potential because that would necessarily reduce this potential information to only what is observable/measurable, which would be an inaccurate representation of that potential, in much the same way as a photograph is an inaccurate representation of life.

    I would also argue that potential can exist with nothing more than the possibility of existence, and that the entire physical and material universe manifests ultimately from the relation of differentiated potential. But that may be another discussion.
  • Douglas Alan
    34

    Colors exist as objects of cognition. Cognition is a function of conscious agents.Noah Te Stroete

    The agents don't have to be consciousness for colors to exist. Colors are properties of objects in the external world. Our minds can cognitively pick out objects that have the property of being of red or [insert your favorite color here].

    We might also build non-conscious robots, or even just smart cameras that can accurately identify these same properties. Hence colors exist as properties of objects in the world, regardless of our conscious minds. They will exist when we are long dead and all that are left are the cameras we built to detect these properties. And these properties will still exist when those cameras have long been burned to ashes after our sun becomes a red giant.

    |>ouglas
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.6k


    I don’t disagree with what you’re saying. Different wavelengths of electromagnetism exist without consciousness. But is this really what we think of as color?
  • Douglas Alan
    34


    I don’t disagree with what you’re saying. Different wavelengths of electromagnetism exist without consciousness. But is this really what we think of as color?Noah Te Stroete

    Colors are far more complex than simple wavelengths of light. Most colors do not correspond to any wavelength. Rather they are a mixture of different wavelengths. But different mixtures will be perceived as the same color. And the same mixture of wavelengths will be perceived as different colors in different environments.

    I understand that it is extremely difficult to define what our eyes and brains pick out as certain colors, because the properties that are being picked out are being done so by very complex systems. So maybe the goal of building robots or cameras that can pick out colors the same way that we do is somewhat farfetched practically speaking. But in theory it could be done.

    Yes, this is what I think of as color.

    If, on the other hand, we are talking about the phenomenal qualia of color perception, then, yes, they exist too. Even more surely. I'm not a physicalist and so I think that how this works is deeply mysterious. But since I can never be you and you can never be me, I can never know that what that what you feel when you see a ripe tomato is the same thing that I feel when I see a ripe tomato. Our qualia of seeing a ripe tomato may not be the same, and hence may not exist as something that can be accurately covered by a single term.

    On the other hand, modulo issues of color blindness and everyone having somewhat different eyes and cognitive functioning, the physical property of redness is something that can be identified by most humans, and most certainly exists physically as a property of physical things.

    |>ouglas
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.6k


    Okay. Well, to me the qualia of red is what the color of red is to me. Likewise, what you perceive as red is red to you. It doesn’t matter if they are the same experience. It takes an experiencer for red to exist. That is where I differ.

    That said, I don’t think this discussion has any practical weight in my life, so I’m not that interested in it. I could be persuaded, but really in the end, who cares?
  • Douglas Alan
    34

    That said, I don’t think this discussion has any practical weight in my life, so I’m not that interested in it. I could be persuaded, but really in the end, who cares?Noah Te Stroete

    Well, I guess I care because I've gotten drawn into a debate again on Max Tegmark's MUH, and so it's on my mind lately what it means for something to be "real".

    But YMMV!

    |>ouglas
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    The second asks about the domain of a predicate, are there things that are coloured? ∃(x)f(x)?

    This difference in structure shows why it is so much easier to see the second as asking 'bout word use.
    Banno

    It's asking whether the world is colored in as we perceive it to be.

    Let's take an example. "Is the sky blue on a clear, sunny day?"

    On an ordinary language usage, it is obviously is. That's because the ordinary language usage assumes normally sighted human vision. Or at least for languages that make usage of blue hues.

    But what if the question is asking whether the sky is actually blue on a clear, sunny day? Then it's no longer about normally sighted human vision for language speakers that utilize blue hues.

    It turns into a question about the nature of the world. And since we know that visible light is but a small part of the EM spectrum, and that other animals can see in wavelengths and primary colors that we cannot, then it's not so obvious what the answer is.

    It lends itself to questioning whether the world is colored in at all. Maybe color isn't a property of the environment and things themselves, but rather animal perceptual systems. If that's true, then the sky isn't actually blue at all. It's not any color.

    That's the difference between a philosophical question concerning what we perceive, and one making use of ordinary language. The first can also be a scientific one.

    The problem with ordinary language in this case is that it hides an assumption of naive realism when it comes to color. And a lot of other things, for that matter.
  • sime
    479
    The collective use of language constitutes an inconsistent convention, for everybody uses the first-person pronoun to refer to a different subject. This is the central oversight in debates over idealism and realism that entirely ignore who is making an ontological commitment, such as the existence of colour.

    Ordinarily, if I assert "I am seeing a red apple" the meaning of the sentence cannot be decomposed into two independent assertions, namely one of a subject and another of an object, as is in situation where I assert that someone else seeing a red apple. As far as I'm concerned, red, i.e. my red, exists independently of other people's perceptions of my red, and they cannot possibly know this fact, for whenever they talk about red they are referring to their red. And the situation isn't improved by talking only about "objective" optical properties.

    Therefore consider the irrealist alternative; namely that ontological disagreements are partly the result of our collectively inconsistent use of language.
  • bongo fury
    229
    whenever they talk about red they are referring to their red.sime

    So what? Aren't they ready to gloss it (if pressed, and with cheerful inconsistency as you say) as: their red and/or your red and/or the type of stimulus? Don't they probably agree with Ramachandran that a simple sci-fi brain bridge would settle the curious question whether they are using the same type of internal colour quality as you are using to identify the same type of external stimulus? (As opposed to using a different type of internal colour quality to identify the same type of external stimulus, as in Locke's colour inversion scenario?)

    If so, the inconsistency hardly seems basic or conceptual, but merely a reasonable way to skirt an issue that only a sci-fi device could settle.

    Therefore consider the irrealist alternative; namely that ontological disagreements are partly the result of our collectively inconsistent use of language.sime

    Delighted to hear more about this alternative... even though I would be hoping for it to unweave the internal qualia rainbow rather than indulge it as you and Locke and Ramachandran and most people seem inclined to.
  • Banno
    7.1k
    The problem with ordinary language in this case is that it hides an assumption of naive realism when it comes to color. And a lot of other things, for that matter.Marchesk

    It doesn't hide the assumption of naive realism - it displays it and shows that it underpins language use.

    What is the sky? Would you have us think of it as a blue shell? But of course, it isn't. Would you say that it isn't really anything - but that's not true. Is it just the same as the air around us? Of course. Then how is it distinct form that last breath of yours? What is to count as a breath, what is to count as sky?

    But if the sky is blue we might plan a picnic together, and if it is overcast we might plan a trip to the cinema.

    So we agree that the sky is indeed blue, and yet you ask me if it is really blue, and talk of electromagnetic spectra and absorption and so on.

    As if any of that could change the colour of the sky.

    As if talk of electromagnetic spectra were more real than talk of blue sky.

    As if there were only one correct way to talk.





    Do colours exist? Yep.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    It doesn't hide the assumption of naive realism - it displays it and shows that it underpins language use.Banno

    But it doesn't show that naive realism is true.
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