Color and Philosophy

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Color and Philosophy

Post by Gauz on Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:16 pm

I'm sure we've all wondered at some point if we all perceive color uniformly. That is, how do I know what I assign as "red" is the same color you assign as "red", and not in fact what I assign as "green"?

I found this article suggesting that it's entirely possible we're not all seeing the world in the same colors.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2166917/We-DONT-colours-say-scientists-claim-persons-red-anothers-blue.html

Just some food for thought.
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Re: Color and Philosophy

Post by Nocbl2 on Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:37 pm

The big issue here is that we are people, and thus will have fairly uniform perception due to the fact that we are so similar. Sure, it might be different for monkeys who don't have the genes to begin with, but it's rather foolish to postulate that we could see colors differently. We have the same rods and cones, at least for the most part. There isn't a whole lot of variation there.
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Re: Color and Philosophy

Post by Gauz on Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:20 pm

You're not looking into it deep enough.  

Color is a subjective experience.

From Wikipedia:
Colors can be measured and quantified in various ways; indeed, a human's perception of colors is a subjective process whereby the brain responds to the stimuli that are produced when incoming light reacts with the several types of cone photoreceptors in the eye. In essence, different people may see the same illuminated object or light source in different ways.
More from Wikipedia:
Nothing categorically distinguishes the visible spectrum of electromagnetic radiation from invisible portions of the broader spectrum. In this sense, color is not a property of electromagnetic radiation, but a feature of visual perception by an observer. Furthermore, there is an arbitrary mapping between wavelengths of light in the visual spectrum and human experiences of color. Although most people are assumed to have the same mapping, the philosopher John Locke recognized that alternatives are possible, and described one such hypothetical case with the "inverted spectrum" thought experiment. For example, someone with an inverted spectrum might experience green while seeing 'red' (700 nm) light, and experience red while seeing 'green' (530 nm) light.
And yet another:
Another way to look at this question is to assume two people ("Fred" and "George" for the sake of convenience) see colors differently. That is, when Fred sees the sky, his mind interprets this light signal as blue. He calls the sky "blue." However, when George sees the sky, his mind assigns green to that light frequency. If Fred were able to step into George's mind, he would be amazed that George saw green skies. However, George has learned to associate the word "blue" with what his mind sees as green, and so he calls the sky "blue", because for him the color green has the name "blue." The question is whether blue must be blue for all people, or whether the perception of that particular color is assigned by the mind.
This extends to all areas of the physical reality, where the outside world we perceive is merely a representation of what is impressed upon the senses. The objects we see are in truth wave-emitting (or reflecting) objects which the brain shows to the conscious self in various forms and colors. Whether the colors and forms experienced perfectly match between person to person, may never be known. That people can communicate accurately shows that the order and proportionality in which experience is interpreted is generally reliable. Thus one's reality is, at least, compatible to another person's in terms of structure and ratio.
What this means is that how one perceives the world through their sensory data can be different from how others do so.
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Re: Color and Philosophy

Post by dragoon9105 on Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:54 pm

Goes out the window when you apply actual science. Light is base on wavelength, Red appears as red becuase of that, So unless someone has different eyes than your average human being which is what we call colorblind you see colors accurately.

Further proof is psychological, People describe blue as cool and calming, ect, If people saw blue in what we know of as red they wouldn't say its calming.
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Re: Color and Philosophy

Post by Gauz on Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:36 pm

You're talking about psychology so you should apply psychological principles to your argument.  You think the color we know as blue is just intrinsically calming?  No, wrong, false.  We learn that blue is calming through association.  Blue is the color of the sky, and also of the ocean.  Things that humans generally accept as calming.  

However; if one was to perceive the sky as "red", but learn through association that the color is called "blue", one would associate that color with the calmness and serenity of the ocean and sky.  Even if what they see is "red".  As hard as it may be to follow, just try to visualize it, understand it, and apply it.  

Color, what we actually see, is determined by the brain.  There's no arguing that we're all seeing the same wavelengths of light, but how we interpret that information is decided by the brain.  And we all know that the processes of the human brain are not uniform across all people.

This quote (from my previous post) is a good example of that:
Nothing categorically distinguishes the visible spectrum of electromagnetic radiation from invisible portions of the broader spectrum. In this sense, color is not a property of electromagnetic radiation, but a feature of visual perception by an observer.
Think about it.  I didn't put this in the debate section for a reason, because I don't particularly agree one way or another (as you can't really prove it), therefore it's just an interesting thought experiment I thought to consider.

Links for more reading to help shed light on what this actually means because I don't think you two quite get it.

http://groups.able2know.org/philforum/topic/3413-1
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qualia-inverted/


Last edited by Gauz on Thu Nov 21, 2013 4:55 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Forgot the link, whatever, fuck you)
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Re: Color and Philosophy

Post by KrAzY on Thu Nov 21, 2013 4:19 pm

the wavelength of light has nothing to do with how the brain constructs what we see as the color of the light, people have the same rods and cones in the eyes but people do not have the same neural connections.

the problem is that if someone saw the color blue for what I saw as the color red that would be their red, it is arbitrary. the rules governing astetic application of color which seem to work fairly consistently seem to say that there is at least some uniformity, but not nessicarily.

peoples perceptions of colors also change as they age, which is evidence AGAINST uniformity.

in the end it doesnt really matter at all, as long as we can both identify objects as the same color.
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Re: Color and Philosophy

Post by Gauz on Thu Nov 21, 2013 4:54 pm

Mr.Inferior of the two Admins wrote:the wavelength of light has nothing to do with how the brain constructs what we see as the color of the light, people have the same rods and cones in the eyes but people do not have the same neural connections.

the problem is that if someone saw the color blue for what I saw as the color red that would be their red, it is arbitrary. the rules governing astetic application of color which seem to work fairly consistently seem to say that there is at least some uniformity, but not nessicarily.

peoples perceptions of colors also change as they age, which is evidence AGAINST uniformity.

in the end it doesnt really matter at all, as long as we can both identify objects as the same color.
Agreed, it doesn't matter since even if we saw inverted spectrums, our color vision is still obviously compatible to other humans in terms of structure and ratio.
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Re: Color and Philosophy

Post by Rotaretilbo on Thu Nov 21, 2013 6:31 pm

The problem with the idea that the colors I see are radically different than the colors other people see is that, as Mr.Inferior of the two Admins said, the way our brain interprets color and the way our eyes perceive color are different.

Humans have three types of color cone in their eyes: one that responds to wavelength 450 (Blue), one that responds to wavelength 550 (Green), and one that responds to wavelength 650 (Red). For this reason all color as we perceive it is based on mixing of these three colors. It's why computer monitors use RGB for the basis of color. With RGB color numbers, each number represents the presence or absence of its corresponding color, which reflects how strongly the cones in our eyes are reacting to the color.

However, the brain doesn't interpret color in the same manner. When the brain interprets colors, it puts things together using it's own scale. Like our eyes, it uses three core values, but what the values represent is very different. The brain perceives six colors, each at an end of one of the three scales. The first scale is White vs Black, the second is Red vs Green, and the third is Blue vs Yellow. Now, you'll notice something here. Blue and Yellow are opposites in visual light, but Red and Green are not. This is what leads to so much confusion about whether Yellow or Green is the third primary color. In a color wheel, Red and Green are considered complimentary colors, but in light, they are both primary colors.

You see, it's one thing to perceive colors just a little differently, but another entirely to perceive an entirely different color, because the way we perceive and the way we interpret colors don't work together, and are therefore rather fragile. You see, normally, you'd make the argument that, say, if my Red was your Blue, then either my Blue is your Red (reflection), or my Blue is your Green and my Green is your Red (rotation). However, in both cases, this wouldn't work, because it would mean that the brain was treating Blue vs Green and Red vs Yellow as complimentary colors, which they most certainly are not. Alternatively, if you tried swapping Blue and Yellow to maintain the brain's interpretation of complimentary colors, you end up with the color wheel instead of RGB in your perception, which makes no sense at all.

Ultimately, the only radical alteration in color perception between people would be switching Red and Green, because it wouldn't fuck the RGB model we see or the complimentary colors we interpret. That said, minor differences in the cones or neurons could certainly account for minor variations in color perception. And I believe there's talk that some women might have a fourth cone in their eyes corresponding to wavelength 600 (Orange) which throws the entire thing for a loop.

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