Erik Bates | November 9, 2003
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Anna Gregoline | November 10, 2003
I do the same thing.

Matthew Preston | November 10, 2003
Unless you were physically color blind, I would probably see the colors as I perceived them.

Jackie Mason | November 12, 2003
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Scott Hardie | November 13, 2003
There's probably a technical term for that line of thinking... Wow. I just found something a philosophy major is actually good for. :-)

Seriously though, your question seems to me like part of the larger question of perception versus reality. We can all agree that there is only one objective reality, but perception is different for everyone. We have no guarantee that your red and my red are the same color, only that there is one single true "red."

You thought about this while stuck at a red light, didn't you?

Erik Bates | November 13, 2003
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Kris Weberg | November 14, 2003
Actually, I take the line of certain post-Hegelians who argue that reality is at least partially constructed by consciousness, and hence is not traditionally "objective" due to the reliance of a given reality on a confluence of particular types of subjectivity and the existence of certains categories of subject. While there is in some sense an articulable "objective" or "genuine" reality for any given kind of subject -- in our case, human subjects -- there is no totalized"objective reality" qua reality.

Effie Schaver | November 18, 2003
I used to ask my students to write a paragraph describing the color blue to a blind person. They had a horrible time. I think if people have normal vision, we all see things the same color. Or, at least close enough that we can accept what others tell us. How else would we be able to buy clothes a certain color? I suppose if enough people started to claim that things we once assumed were green, like stoplights, were in reality blue, we might be able to change perception.

Erik Bates | November 18, 2003
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Scott Hardie | November 19, 2003
When I was an adolescent, a friend of mine liked to ask "how would you describe colors to a blind person?" as a Zen-like mind-clearing question, like the old "if there's nobody around, does a falling tree make a sound?" and "what's the sound of one hand clapping?" and so on. The best answer I could give, being very literal-minded (those were never rhetorical questions to me), was to describe colors in terms of temperature: red being hot and blue being cold, and other colors as varying degrees of that. But I did some research just now, and that's the most common answer given (the movie "At First Sight" with Val Kilmer did it that way), so it seems I was no cleverer at 13 than the Internet is in general. Whatever.

Erik Bates | November 19, 2003
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Amir H. Sufyani | November 19, 2003
Pretty much the entire sensory experience of sight, or any of them, for that matter, is almost fundamentally indescribable. Even using the color approach, you can't really explain how your experience sight. A bat could explain to echolocation to me in terms of colors, or however would be most apt, but I would still have no real idea what it was like to echolocate, except by relating it to my other senses, saying it's a little like hearing, or the sensation you get from the hairs on the back of your neck. Similarly, you can try to explain things like colors, but don't even try sight or to see.

Scott Hardie | November 19, 2003
True. The more I think about that stupid Val Kilmer movie, the more I think about blind people who gain sight later in life. They're usually baffled for a long time by what they see, and even years after becoming accustomed to eyesight, they still don't really interpret the world visually, using that sense only to enhance what they interpret with their other senses. But just as you and I don't need echolocation, blind people don't need vision, or need to understand what "blue" is - they do just fine as they are.

Anna Gregoline | November 19, 2003
Here's another, slightly related question - what do you guys think - should we try to eventually eliminate blindness and deafness? What about other disabilities/diseases like these?

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