## Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

The origins of the imperative, "know thyself", are lost in the sands of time, but the age-old examination of human consciousness continues here.

Moderator: MagsJ

### Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

James S Saint wrote:
Magnus Anderson wrote:You asked for a definition and I gave you one.

Personally, I agree with the definition you gave. Others seem to be thinking of something else .. undefined (hence the senseless bickering).

I don't think there is any "senseless bickering" in this thread.

I am also pretty sure the problematic word isn't "color" but "existence".

There are words that have no reference to something that has been experienced in the past. We simply call them meaningless words. Some philosophers use technical terms such as "empty signifiers" to refer to them.

These are not merely words that refer to something imaginary. No, these are words that have no reference point whatsoever.

I have no idea what you mean when you say "undefined" but one possibility is precisely this, I mean, "having no reference point in experience".

Usually, such words are formed when something we expect to be there turns out not to be there.

Sort of like expecting to see a circle only to end up seeing a square. Unable to admit that there is no square, one settles for something meaningless such as "square circle". It's not exactly a circle but it's not something other than the circle either!

There are questions that have no answers. We like to believe otherwise.

Mathematicians ask "how many [straight line] units are there in the circumference of a circle with a diameter that is d [straight line] units long?"

There is no answer to this question because such a relation does not exist. You cannot construct a boundary of a circle using straight lines.

There is no C = d * Pi where Pi is at least a decimal or a rational number (none of which are numbers.)

There is no exact equality between C and d * x, only approximate equality.

There is no Pi. Noone ever saw Pi. We imagined that it exists because we needed it to exist. But it does not.

Instead, what there is is a set of decimal numbers, or more precisely, an algorithm for calculating the multiplier based on some desired degree of precision.

Now, I want you to compare the concept "Pi" to the concept "color qualia" and look me in the eye and tell me that the latter is undefined when it's pretty fucking clear that most of us have an experience of it.

But who knows what you're speaking of when you say "undefined". Perhaps you don't know what colors are qualitatively? I can't tell.

The problem that troubles the concept "Pi" does not trouble the concept "color qualia" but it does trouble the concept "existence".

Many say existence is mind-independent. Which is a ridiculous claim, if you think about it.

How can we know anything that is mind-independent?
Is that some sort of "out-of-body(or should I say mind?) experience"?
Seriously?

And if I deny mind-independence I am automatically a subjectivist who thinks that anything goes?
I got a philosophy degree, I'm not upset that I can't find work as a philosopher. It was my decision, and I knew that it wasn't a money making degree, so I get money elsewhere.
-- Mr. Reasonable

Magnus Anderson
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### Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

@ Magnus Anderson

Magnus Anderson wrote:Well, I didn't think you were trying to be mean until you told me you weren't trying to be mean.

Fair enough, seriously though I was not trying to be mean. I just looked at my own words and thought that maybe they could possibly come across as being mean.

Magnus Anderson wrote:He asked for a definition. I gave him one. He didn't like it. Apparently, he's asking for a specific definition. I don't know what kind of definition he's asking for and I don't know for what purpose. In fact, I suspect he doesn't know either.

We already know what color is. I am sure there is no ambiguity here. For those of us who have an experience of colors, at least.

One of the questions posed in the OP is whether qualities are real or not.

My approach is based on my judgment that we already know what qualities are but that we don't know what the word "real" means.

The problematic word is not "color" but "real".

I will let you and James sort any ambiguity out that the pair of you may or may not have. I was personally interested in your definition as opposed to google's - I get the picture that they are the same.

As far as the rest of our interaction is concerned - people have different ideas - I see that as quite a usual occurrence. To say that I have a very strange notion of what it means to care I think is a little rough given that we do not know each other very well but then I was being a little rough myself so I guess I deserved that.

"did you mean interact instead of interest?" and "how did you come up with the title of your paper?"

I think the first question is reasonable - I just wanted to be absolutely sure. I don't think it was me who asked the second question unless you are referring to the following:

encode_decode wrote:Regarding your post Frankenstein, I found the opening sequence of words "Mary, Quite Contrary: Consciousness Unexplained" rather enjoyable to read - I like how it mirrors the same amount of syllables as the nursery rhyme - rather creative in my opinion. Is this opening sequence an object of your imagination or some other persons?

Just a minor curiosity - not really important to the overall topic but not a completely terrible conversation starter. Put it this way, I have seen worse.

encode_decode wrote:OK Magnus. It seems to me that you care more about what you are saying than the original post however I have been known to be wrong on occasion.

Well I have been known to be wrong on occasion - it is true - in fact I have lost count of the amount of times I have been wrong. I do try to learn from my mistakes however.

encode_decode wrote:You might have to dumb it down a bit for me Magnus - you are using too many big words. I am not that smart.

encode_decode wrote:Maybe you are right - it was fun while it lasted. Farewell.

I only ask that you excuse my sarcasm on this occasion.

The thread still remains interesting from what I can tell.

It’s not that truth itself is being eroded per se, it’s that fragmental falsification appears to be increasing.
(Anomaly654 - 2017)

But the point remains that you can't get at that meaning before grasping the surface meaning
- which is to say there is always meaning.

(gib - 2017)

Mind is an ever changing dimension that is bound to reality, logic and emotion.
(Myself - 2017)
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encode_decode
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### Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

encode_decode wrote:@ Stephen C Pedersen

I did not even check the date - oh well.

Just out of interest, how did the presentation go?

It was a symposium speech for my university. Many philosophy professors were there among other types of professors. An English professor complimented me on style. The philosophy professors butted head with other philosophy professors. A philosophy of science professor dismissed it of course, because qualia isn't objective. A psychology professor noted how science has changed over the years and how it might include a science of the mind someday that would include inner subjective experiences. Another philosophy professor who teaches metaphysics really took an interest and started to prod, but, unfortunately my professor who helped me with the project wanted her to stay on topic. Afterwards, another philosophy professor said I had been "deCarted", assuming I'm a disciple of Descartes, and then the philosophy of science professor said we should do away with foundationalism. I thought their comments were rather dismissive to be quite honest but my professor told them that my argument did make sense. When I sat down for the meal with the other professors another one told me how silly the mind body problem is. That comment then tested my professors patience. All these professors have a different version of the truth. My professor was a disciple of Wittgenstein and didn't necessarily agree with my own paper but he still loved it. The criticism I received is expected because the central component of philosophy is criticism. I just wish I defended myself better after the speech.

Stephen C Pedersen

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### Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

@ Stephen C Pedersen

Stephen C Pedersen wrote:It was a symposium speech for my university. Many philosophy professors were there among other types of professors. An English professor complimented me on style.

If I was an English professor it is likely that I would have done the same given how much I enjoyed the article - however I was absolutely terrible at English in High School so who knows.

Stephen C Pedersen wrote:The philosophy professors butted head with other philosophy professors. A philosophy of science professor dismissed it of course, because qualia isn't objective.

Sounds like what one would come to expect.

Stephen C Pedersen wrote:A psychology professor noted how science has changed over the years and how it might include a science of the mind someday that would include inner subjective experiences.

Indeed, science has changed so much.

Stephen C Pedersen wrote:Another philosophy professor who teaches metaphysics really took an interest and started to prod, but, unfortunately my professor who helped me with the project wanted her to stay on topic.

Unfortunate but fair enough.

Stephen C Pedersen wrote:Afterwards, another philosophy professor said I had been "deCarted", assuming I'm a disciple of Descartes, and then the philosophy of science professor said we should do away with foundationalism. I thought their comments were rather dismissive to be quite honest but my professor told them that my argument did make sense.

I agree that their comments were rather dismissive.

Stephen C Pedersen wrote:When I sat down for the meal with the other professors another one told me how silly the mind body problem is. That comment then tested my professors patience. All these professors have a different version of the truth. My professor was a disciple of Wittgenstein and didn't necessarily agree with my own paper but he still loved it. The criticism I received is expected because the central component of philosophy is criticism. I just wish I defended myself better after the speech.

Well I think it is rather silly to say that the mind/body problem is silly - sounds like this professor makes a habit of putting all her/his eggs in one basket - not so good if one turns out to be wrong. Criticism is healthy when it is performed by people with an open mind - it becomes a form of exploration then. Like I say there are more versions of reality than there are people; each person has there own version and there is at least one version on top of that - reality itself.

It’s not that truth itself is being eroded per se, it’s that fragmental falsification appears to be increasing.
(Anomaly654 - 2017)

But the point remains that you can't get at that meaning before grasping the surface meaning
- which is to say there is always meaning.

(gib - 2017)

Mind is an ever changing dimension that is bound to reality, logic and emotion.
(Myself - 2017)
______________________
Neosophi | οἶκος | ἀγορά

encode_decode
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Location: Metaspace

### Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

I was personally interested in your definition as opposed to google's - I get the picture that they are the same.

My personal definition is "the visual experience of light hitting the eye".

But this one is ambigious too because light hitting the eye can be absent and visual experience still be present, for the simple reason that they are two different things.

I can give you a more precise, less ambiguous, definition but I don't have one at hand and I don't think it's smart to make the extra effort given that I don't see the relevance of doing that.

Most importantly, no matter how precise my definitions are, they can never be absolutely precise.

There are no absolutes.
I got a philosophy degree, I'm not upset that I can't find work as a philosopher. It was my decision, and I knew that it wasn't a money making degree, so I get money elsewhere.
-- Mr. Reasonable

Magnus Anderson
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Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 7:26 pm

### Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

@ Magnus Anderson

Magnus Anderson wrote:
I was personally interested in your definition as opposed to google's - I get the picture that they are the same.

My personal definition is "the visual experience of light hitting the eye".

But this one is ambigious too because light hitting the eye can be absent and visual experience still be present, for the simple reason that they are two different things.

Acknowledged.

Magnus Anderson wrote:I can give you a more precise, less ambiguous, definition but I don't have one at hand and I don't think it's smart to make the extra effort given that I don't see the relevance of doing that.

Most importantly, no matter how precise my definitions are, they can never be absolutely precise.

There are no absolutes.

I can respect that.

It’s not that truth itself is being eroded per se, it’s that fragmental falsification appears to be increasing.
(Anomaly654 - 2017)

But the point remains that you can't get at that meaning before grasping the surface meaning
- which is to say there is always meaning.

(gib - 2017)

Mind is an ever changing dimension that is bound to reality, logic and emotion.
(Myself - 2017)
______________________
Neosophi | οἶκος | ἀγορά

encode_decode
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Posts: 1028
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:07 pm
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### Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Maia wrote:Colours don't exist outside of the physical, external stimulus that creates them. If they did, I would know what they look like, when in fact, I have no idea.

Your brain is still producing transparent photons with information, because cells do that. I provided links earlier to show this. One who has been able to see but goes completely blind, has still lost an ability to make photons manifest colour. Perhaps because it is a subconscious process. Your brain is producing a signal which with a needle into the top of your brain would be able to read, such e.g. so a paraplegic can move a robot arm. As that signal tells your neurons to affect informationally the photons in your brain, if it were corrected electronically, then you would be able to see colours.
I noticed a similar thing can already be done with hearing.

Don’t you think there is a level where all this colour qualia is mechanistic akin to how it is in our computers?

_
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Once it is written it is lost.
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the fully painted picture, reveals an empty canvas

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### Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Amorphos wrote:Your brain is still producing transparent photons with information, because cells do that. I provided links earlier to show this.

That is not light. Nor is it color or qualia. It is more akin to small bioelectric currents. And those are throughout any living brain all of the time - no light required, nor any senses. Neither do they produce light. Instead, they produce your thoughts from which you deduce that there is colored light "out there".
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It is not merely "do what works", but "to accomplish what purpose in what time frame at what cost".
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