Thursday, September 13, 2007

Are colors colorful?

Well, of course they are, by definition...but wait a minute. What does it really mean to have a color? "Reflecting a specific wavelength of electromagnetic radiation" may be the the technical answer, but I (and I suspect most people) find that response somewhat lacking. What it lacks, of course, is any mention of the qualitative experience of seeing a color. (Google "qualia" for more on this particular topic.) The redness of red, the greenness of green--are these in the objects or in ourselves? If the latter, where inside of us does the perception of color reside? In the optic nerve? Somewhere deeper in the brain? I don't know if science yet has a definitive answer.

No comments: