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quickquestion

Consciousness and color (split from darkness defined)

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Darkness is a property of human or other animal sight and has nothing to do with physics. In physics the closest thing to darkness would be "lack of energy" but it's just silly to correlate the two like that. Frankly I don't understand why this topic is in the physics forum.

As for color; Color is perceived differently by individuals based on experience. Color perception is a personal thing and I guarantee that everyone in this thread sees colors differently. Does it have anything to do with conciousness? (whatever that is) - not really. Its just that our brains correlate names of colors to whats out there in different ways. Like a canon camera sensor registers different colors from a nikon camera sensor. Certainly no conciousness there.

The question is not whether a Canon has consciousness, but whether or not if a Canon had consciousness, would the Canon be able to see in color?

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koti    140

The question is not whether a Canon has consciousness, but whether or not if a Canon had consciousness, would the Canon be able to see in color?

 

That is a pretty silly question now isn't it. Canon & Nikon are brands of photo cameras by the way.

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Posted (edited)

 

That is a pretty silly question now isn't it. Canon & Nikon are brands of photo cameras by the way.

It isn't a ridiculous question.

Let me form a different question so you can see what I'm getting at.

 

What is mahogany?

 

Let's say we eat some out of the ordinary food. And it smells a bit like mahogany. We could analyze the brain and see the neurons light up, but those neurons would not be mahogany. And we wouldn't be able to understand what mahogany actually is. Thus consciousness contains information that is outside the brain's information set, and converts/transforms the brain into something different from itself. Like how we "see" color in photons when they are simply colorless waveforms.

Edited by quickquestion

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koti    140

It isn't a ridiculous question.

Let me form a different question so you can see what I'm getting at.

 

What is mahogany?

 

Let's say we eat some out of the ordinary food. And it smells a bit like mahogany. We could analyze the brain and see the neurons light up, but those neurons would not be mahogany. And we wouldn't be able to understand what mahogany actually is. Thus consciousness contains information that is outside the brain's information set, and converts/transforms the brain into something different from itself. Like how we "see" color in photons when they are simply colorless waveforms.

 

Your post is practically all gibberish so it's difficult to engage in an answer.

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Your post is practically all gibberish so it's difficult to engage in an answer.

You are being needlessly insulting, but really it's insulting yourself because I'm sure a lot people could understand my post with no problems.

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koti    140

You are being needlessly insulting, but really it's insulting yourself because I'm sure a lot people could understand my post with no problems.

 

I'm sorry you took it as an insult, it was not intended. I just don't understand what you're talking about.

Breaking down your incoherent (to me) post:

 

What is mahogany?

Mahogany is a type of hard wood, as far as I know it's used to make furniture and expensive floors.

Let's say we eat some out of the ordinary food. And it smells a bit like mahogany.

As far as I know, mahogany is not edible.

We could analyze the brain and see the neurons light up, but those neurons would not be mahogany.

If we were to scan brain activity of an individual who is experiencing smelling mahogany, we would see activity in his/hers temporal lobes which are located on both sides of the head just above the ears. The temporal lobes would not be mahogany (what does that mean?)

And we wouldn't be able to understand what mahogany actually is.

Sure we would. Considering that we knew what the smell of mahogany is prior to the experience.

Thus consciousness contains information that is outside the brain's information set, and converts/transforms the brain into something different from itself.

Nope. Conciousness is located in the brain. Where else would conciousness be located? Also conciousness does not convert the brain, it's part of it's function.

Like how we "see" color in photons when they are simply colorless waveforms.

White visible light contains all the colors within it's spectrum. If you don't believe me, grab a piece of glass and shine white light through it and you will see the light refract into different colors.

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Strange    2534

You are being needlessly insulting, but really it's insulting yourself because I'm sure a lot people could understand my post with no problems.

 

 

I had absolutely no idea what you were talking about. Food that tastes like mahogany? And what does this have to do with darkness (absence of light)?

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I'm sorry you took it as an insult, it was not intended. I just don't understand what you're talking about.

Breaking down your incoherent (to me) post:

 

What is mahogany?

Mahogany is a type of hard wood, as far as I know it's used to make furniture and expensive floors.

Let's say we eat some out of the ordinary food. And it smells a bit like mahogany.

As far as I know, mahogany is not edible.

We could analyze the brain and see the neurons light up, but those neurons would not be mahogany.

If we were to scan brain activity of an individual who is experiencing smelling mahogany, we would see activity in his/hers temporal lobes which are located on both sides of the head just above the ears. The temporal lobes would not be mahogany (what does that mean?)

And we wouldn't be able to understand what mahogany actually is.

Sure we would. Considering that we knew what the smell of mahogany is prior to the experience.

Thus consciousness contains information that is outside the brain's information set, and converts/transforms the brain into something different from itself.

Nope. Conciousness is located in the brain. Where else would conciousness be located? Also conciousness does not convert the brain, it's part of it's function.

Like how we "see" color in photons when they are simply colorless waveforms.

White visible light contains all the colors within it's spectrum. If you don't believe me, grab a piece of glass and shine white light through it and you will see the light refract into different colors.

Well, they say the majority of taste is smell. You can taste a flower, doesn't make it edible. Edibility has nothing to do with anything.

And you could replace the word "mahogony" with some other word, like tacos.

We do not fully understand why tacos taste like tacos.

I specifically picked the word "mahogany" so people wouldn't just say "Oh it tastes salty, sweet, or this and that". I wanted to pick something weird so people couldn't just resort to the tastebud explanation.

 

Also, I don't know what your point is about white light, it seems like a tangent. I was saying that the color red is different from purple because our brain or consciousness makes it such. Empirical data involving of color is just colorless waveforms. A total colorblind person cannot see color even if he understands the science of color.

 

We know what the smell of mahogony is. But we do not why the smell of mahogony smells in such a way. We just know, that neurons activate and it smells like it due to consciousness. But we don't know any kind of deep explanation.

 

Consciousness is apparently located in the brain. But it is not the brain, because when we look at the brain we don't see sense qualia. So something is converting brain data to sense qualia, since brain data is not the same as sense qualia. A serotonin molecule is not happiness, until it becomes connected to our consciousness and then it is converted (perhaps inherently, perhaps not inherently) into happiness.

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Strange    2534

Also, I don't know what your point is about white light, it seems like a tangent.

 

 

You said light was colourless. It isn't.

 

 

I was saying that the color red is different from purple because our brain or consciousness makes it such.

 

You may have thought that was what you were saying ...

 

 

We know what the smell of mahogony is.

 

Really? I have no idea what mahogany smells like. Does it even have a smell. Other than a generically wordy one.

 

 

But we do not why the smell of mahogony smells in such a way. We just know, that neurons activate and it smells like it due to consciousness. But we don't know any kind of deep explanation.

 

Well, we know that certain chemical bind to receptors in the vomeronasal organ, which generate nerve impulses to the brain.

 

What do you mean by "deep explanation"?

 

 

 

Consciousness is apparently located in the brain. But it is not the brain, because when we look at the brain we don't see sense qualia.

 

Oh, you are talking about qualia. I see. You could have made things so much simpler if you had just made it clear what you were talking about.

 

This has nothing to do with physics. Maybe you should start a thread in the Philosophy section to discuss this.

 

 

 

A serotonin molecule is not happiness

 

A stunning insight.

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Light is colourless in the sense of the definition I was using for it.

 

If I turn on a TV, and I say "This has no real color if consciousness isn't there" then someone says "No, you see each white pixel is an RGB packet which is a mix of red, blue and green, therefore it has color" I'd say that they missed the point of what I was trying to say.

 

Well, we know that certain chemical bind to receptors in the vomeronasal organ, which generate nerve impulses to the brain.

 

What do you mean by "deep explanation"?

 

Saying "just nerve impulses" is unsatisfying.

In order for the explanation to be satisfying it would have to explain why nerve impulses are converted to feel in the manner they do when they are presented to consciousness.

 

And replace and insert <mahogany> with whatever flavor you choose.

 

And I put this in the Physics section because it was meant as a response to Relative who made a topic about Darkness in the Physics Section.

But if a mod moved this thread to Philosophy I'd be cool with that.

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Strange    2534

And I put this in the Physics section because it was meant as a response to Relative who made a topic about Darkness in the Physics Section.

 

 

From what I remember, Relative used to write the most incoherent, nonsensical drug-fuelled drivel with no scientific content. Trying to clarify anything he said is probably a waste of time.

 

 

 

But if a mod moved this thread to Philosophy I'd be cool with that.

 

I have suggested such a move.

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Posted (edited)

 

 

From what I remember, Relative used to write the most incoherent, nonsensical drug-fuelled drivel with no scientific content. Trying to clarify anything he said is probably a waste of time.

 

 

What Relative said I understood very little, at most I was just guessing at what he was trying to say, but mostly just stating my views about darkness, and saying that perhaps maybe he was trying to say something similar, but I am not sure.

 

 

 

 

I have suggested such a move.

 

 

Ok, fine by me.

Edited by quickquestion

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StephenH    4

 

As for color; Color is perceived differently by individuals based on experience. Color perception is a personal thing and I guarantee that everyone in this thread sees colors differently. Does it have anything to do with conciousness? (whatever that is) - not really.

 

The only way your brain receives any knowledge of colour from the outside world is via pulses of charge along the optic nerve.

But instead of just being aware of the raw data of "light of 540nm wavelength excited a cone on the retina" the brain converts this data into a sensation: "green".

 

If the problem were just figuring out whether different people see colour differently, and why, that's in principle a solvable question.

 

But if the problem is figuring out how brains have sensations at all; how an arrangement of matter can feel pain, say, we have no model for this at this time.

And it is wrong to say it has nothing to do with consciousness; how brains have sensations is perhaps the most fundamental part of understanding consciousness.

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koti    140
Posted (edited)

 

The only way your brain receives any knowledge of colour from the outside world is via pulses of charge along the optic nerve.

But instead of just being aware of the raw data of "light of 540nm wavelength excited a cone on the retina" the brain converts this data into a sensation: "green".

And this sensation is subjective to prior experiences of an individual concerning color perception. Hence my statement that color perception is a "personal thing"

 

If the problem were just figuring out whether different people see colour differently, and why, that's in principle a solvable question.

I don't know what the problem is, this thread is borderline crackpot.

 

But if the problem is figuring out how brains have sensations at all; how an arrangement of matter can feel pain, say, we have no model for this at this time.

And it is wrong to say it has nothing to do with consciousness; how brains have sensations is perhaps the most fundamental part of understanding consciousness.

Depends on the definition of consciousness which as far as I know is moot. I would imagine you could be incapable of conscious thought (accident, genetic dysfunction, etc) and still perceive colors. In this sense I asserted that color perception probably has nothing to do with consciousness which in my understanding and generally in these kinds of discussions is approached as "what are we? how we got here? why am I here?" type of things instead of "why does an orange smell like an orange" definition of consciousness. Ofcourse I agree with you that if the definition of consciousness is that its a combination of all senses, feelings and sensations than you're right.

We can be fairly sure that some insects are capable of perceiving colors and also we can be fairly sure that none of them are capable of conscious thought.

 

Edited by koti

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StephenH    4

 

 

 

And this sensation is subjective to prior experiences of an individual concerning color perception. Hence my statement that color perception is a "personal thing"

Yes but that statement implies to me that the prior experiences is the critical factor. But if you had two individuals who were somehow perfectly identical and you could somehow deliver all the same sensory data for their entire lives...we would still have the phenomenon of brains making sensations, that we don't understand at this time.

IOW, IMO the issue of whether you and I see colours the same is of secondary importance.

 

I don't know what the problem is, this thread is borderline crackpot.

Agreed. I just joined in because I smelled a Daniel Dennett style handwave of conscious phenomena. If that's a misconception on my part then probably we don't have much of a disagreement.

 

Depends on the definition of consciousness which as far as I know is moot. I would imagine you could be incapable of conscious thought (accident, genetic dysfunction, etc) and still perceive colors. In this sense I asserted that color perception probably has nothing to do with consciousness which in my understanding and generally in these kinds of discussions is approached as "what are we? how we got here? why am I here?" type of things instead of "why does an orange smell like an orange" definition of consciousness. Ofcourse I agree with you that if the definition of consciousness is that its a combination of all senses, feelings and sensations than you're right.

We can be fairly sure that some insects are capable of perceiving colors and also we can be fairly sure that none of them are capable of conscious thought.

I'm not sure what "consciousness is moot" would mean, but it's not arbitrary.

And some of those "meaning of life"-style questions that you have listed are absolutely nothing to do with any normal definition of consciousness.

I agree it's a somewhat broad concept, because it's ended up being where we lump many aspects of brain function that we don't understand. But we don't get to make up our own definitions.

 

I will admit this though: me saying that qualia is a fundamental part of consciousness is somewhat controversial. To me it's centrally important because it's a whole different class of problem from the kind that we can normally scientifically examine: it seems intractable in terms of third-person descriptions.

But I grant you that some people may analyze the situation differently and may believe qualia are a side issue.

 

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Manticore    118

Bees see in colour (not the same range as us - they can see into the ultra-violet but not the red end of our visible spectrum)and I can't really imagine an individual bee possesses consciousness (whatever that is).

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StephenH    4

Bees see in colour (not the same range as us - they can see into the ultra-violet but not the red end of our visible spectrum)and I can't really imagine an individual bee possesses consciousness (whatever that is).

 

Yeah and it's trivial to make a robot that will move away from fire, and play a scream noise while doing so. It doesn't tell us anything about the sensation of pain that you and I experience.

Likewise of course there are organism and machines that respond to light stimuli, but we can be fairly sure have no internal sensation of "green", say.

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koti    140
Posted (edited)

 

Yeah and it's trivial to make a robot that will move away from fire, and play a scream noise while doing so. It doesn't tell us anything about the sensation of pain that you and I experience.

Likewise of course there are organism and machines that respond to light stimuli, but we can be fairly sure have no internal sensation of "green", say.

If an organism has the ability to see a particular color then it surely must have an evolutionary reason to do so. Which leads to believe that this organism must have an internal sensation of that color within it's own level of perception. Saying (like you did) that a primitive organism being able to see a certain color but not being able to have a sensation of it because it doesn't have a conscious mind in a human sense is not only unjustly degrading to that organism but also plain false reasoning.

Edited by koti
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StephenH    4
Posted (edited)

 

If an organism has the ability to see a particular color then it surely must have an evolutionary reason to do so. Which leads to believe that this organism must have an internal sensation of that color within it's own level of perception. Saying (like you did) that a primitive organism being able to see a certain color but not being able to have a sensation of it because it doesn't have a conscious mind in a human sense is not only unjustly degrading to that organism but also plain false reasoning.

 

No; the point is that just responding to some stimuli is not proof of an inner experience; otherwise the problem would be vastly simpler than it is.

We know this because:

1. Not all stimuli humans react to include inner experience (for example our reflexes) and

2. We can make very simple machines that respond to stimuli of various kinds e.g. light-sensitive diodes. If they have inner experience, then everything has.

 

And leading on from observation 1, a common idea now among cognitive- and neuro- scientists is that subjective perception is likely linked to choice. Knee-jerk responses don't need (and therefore likely don't have) inner subjective experiences. But where we need to make unique plans (for some common stimulus...obviously we can't evolve inner experiences for everything) it makes sense to have subjective phenomena as inputs.

 

If that's the case, then we'd likely be happy to say most mammals have subjective experience of, say, color, and happy to say very simple lifeforms are like our light-sensitive diode. Inbetween, who knows? It's among the things we're trying to figure out.

 

Edited by StephenH

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koti    140
Posted (edited)

 

No; the point is that just responding to some stimuli is not proof of an inner experience; otherwise the problem would be vastly simpler than it is.

We know this because:

1. Not all stimuli humans react to include inner experience (for example our reflexes) and

2. We can make very simple machines that respond to stimuli of various kinds e.g. light-sensitive diodes. If they have inner experience, then everything has.

 

And leading on from observation 1, a common idea now among cognitive- and neuro- scientists is that subjective perception is likely linked to choice. Knee-jerk responses don't need (and therefore likely don't have) inner subjective experiences. But where we need to make unique plans (for some common stimulus...obviously we can't evolve inner experiences for everything) it makes sense to have subjective phenomena as inputs.

 

If that's the case, then we'd likely be happy to say most mammals have subjective experience of, say, color, and happy to say very simple lifeforms are like our light-sensitive diode. Inbetween, who knows? It's among the things we're trying to figure out.

 

No what? What are you disagreeing with me on? Consciousness suddenly became inner experience - what is the point that you're trying to make because it seems to be shifting or at least is not clear to me. By consciousness being moot I meant that its definition is not clear.

What you wrote is clear to me and I agree with it although I remember a time when a knee jerk launched a series of very serious life and death thoughts in my mind. I think both me and Manticore stated clearly that conciousness and color perception does not have to be correlated, at least in insects. Im also sceptical about the outcome of this debate as at the very root of it we have an undefined term - "conciousness"

 

 

 

Edited by koti

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John Cuthber    3235

You are being needlessly insulting, but really it's insulting yourself because I'm sure a lot people could understand my post with no problems.

Why are you sure of that?

I didn't understand your post; nor did at least a couple of other people.

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StephenH    4

 

No what? What are you disagreeing with me on? Consciousness suddenly became inner experience - what is the point that you're trying to make because it seems to be shifting or at least is not clear to me. By consciousness being moot I meant that its definition is not clear.

What you wrote is clear to me and I agree with it although I remember a time when a knee jerk launched a series of very serious life and death thoughts in my mind. I think both me and Manticore stated clearly that conciousness and color perception does not have to be correlated, at least in insects. Im also sceptical about the outcome of this debate as at the very root of it we have an undefined term - "conciousness"

 

 

 

 

The "no" was WRT the point you had just made, that if an organism sees a colour then it must have an evolutionary reason for doing so, and therefore it must have an internal perception of color.

This doesn't follow at all logically, and in fact is demonstrably false. For example, we have good evolutionary reasons for having reflexes yet none of them are connected to internal subjective sensations.

 

You did add "...within its own level of perception" but that doesn't help. What does it actually mean for the light-sensitive circuit, or my reflexes? Is it advocating panpsychism?

 

Also, it is not true that consciousness is undefined. It's a broad term, yes, and I already conceded that. But the dictionary definition for example is not "[please insert own definition here]".

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Manticore    118
consciouness n. The state or condition of being conscious.

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koti    140
Posted (edited)

 

... we have good evolutionary reasons for having reflexes yet none of them are connected to internal subjective sensations...

 

Color perception is not a reflex. You're moving goal posts. Edited by koti

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