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Color Perception

  1. Feb 20, 2008 #1
    Ok, so have little philosophy background other than a few undergrad classes so I apologize if this is just plain ridiculous. This is a scenario I have pondered for awhile now and I wanted to see what everyone else thinks.

    [begin scenario]

    A simple scenario; two children in preschool (child A and child B), in different cities blissfully unaware of each others existence. Two sets of colored blocks which were made at the same place to the same specifications; one set is sent to each preschool mentioned previously.

    One day the teachers at each of the respective schools is teaching the children about the colors in the rainbow. Each teacher points at the green block......"Green".

    [/end scenario]

    Now, the question is do child A and child B perceive the color green in the same way?

    You could put them in the same room and ask them both the same question and they would each point at the same block if you asked for the green block. But who is to say that the color that child A perceives as green isn't what child B would perceive as purple (or any other color for that matter) if child B could see child A's point of view? But because they have both been taught from a mutual reference point they both identify the color of the block as green.

    Does that make sense?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 20, 2008 #2


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    This is a pretty classic example in philosophy -- most philosophers assert that there is no way to compare the internal, subjective experience of "green" as experienced by two different people.

    - Warren
  4. Feb 21, 2008 #3
    I think I understand what you are trying to get at... You are asking what if one child sees a different color than the other child does, (you refer to as "green")

    I often ponder to myself if anyone sees the same color, we My red could be your blue, (im not color blind), but it is just assumed we all see the same colors. It is quite possible that no one sees red for my red, but maybe for my green or yellow or orange.

    Either they see the same color or they don't. It's also possible that the world is colorless and that you don't see anything they are all just images your brain created, and are all memories.. I think I've conveyed my point--also about to get cut off in the middle of my post and train of thought.. I apologize
  5. Feb 22, 2008 #4


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    But when you consider that we're seeing the same "colours" and other animals (bees?) see different "colours" in the IR range, it seems apparent that we're seeing the exact same thing. Some animals/insects/plants have very bright colours on their skin, and those colours aren't there just for the sake of it.
  6. Feb 23, 2008 #5
    A good deal of color perception takes place in the brain. Color receptors in the eye vary wildly from one individual to the next. Somehow the way the brain processes this information we can agree on colors that we see, though it seems clear that how an individual perceives color is a subjective experience.

  7. Feb 23, 2008 #6


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    I would go as far as to say we even have pretty similar experiences attached to the same colors (for the most part). Otherwise we wouldn't be able to classify good color combinations for marketing and education. I'm pretty sure there's a branch of psychology dedicated to colors.
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