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The Color of an Apple

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Hello Guys/Gals,

I feel like I have asked a similar question a thousand times but I still find myself confused. Ok, an Apple is a room with all the lights on and everybody identifies it as red but if someone where to turn off all the lights in the room suddenly everybody believes the apple is black. How can I prove that the apple is indeed still Red. I understand that nobody can prove somebody elses senses without confirming their own and I understand that reality is objective because even if someone wishes for something to happen it can and most often doesn't but how does someone prove the apple is still red with the lights off?

Thank you,

David C.

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"...but how does someone prove the apple is still red with the lights off?"

Ha, fun question. You can't. With no light there is nothing to see. To see the red of the apple you need light, and that light, depending on its frequency, will affect the quality of the red. You also need a perceiver, not a color-blind guy, and I would guess that there are mechanical tools to measure the visual frequency.

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"...but how does someone prove the apple is still red with the lights off?"

Ha, fun question. You can't. With no light there is nothing to see. To see the red of the apple you need light, and that light, depending on its frequency, will affect the quality of the red. You also need a perceiver, not a color-blind guy, and I would guess that there are mechanical tools to measure the visual frequency.

If you can't how can you prove that reality is objective?

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"...but how does someone prove the apple is still red with the lights off?"

Ha, fun question. You can't. With no light there is nothing to see. To see the red of the apple you need light, and that light, depending on its frequency, will affect the quality of the red. You also need a perceiver, not a color-blind guy, and I would guess that there are mechanical tools to measure the visual frequency.

If you can't how can you prove that reality is objective?

Visually speaking, without light we cannot prove reality exists. In complete darkness you would need other senses to prove it, like by feeling the apple.

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"...but how does someone prove the apple is still red with the lights off?"

Ha, fun question. You can't. With no light there is nothing to see. To see the red of the apple you need light, and that light, depending on its frequency, will affect the quality of the red. You also need a perceiver, not a color-blind guy, and I would guess that there are mechanical tools to measure the visual frequency.

If you can't how can you prove that reality is objective?

Visually speaking, without light we cannot prove reality exists. In complete darkness you would need other senses to prove it, like by feeling the apple.

Then how can Ayn Rand say reality is objective, is her only proof through humans senses?

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Hello Guys/Gals,

I feel like I have asked a similar question a thousand times but I still find myself confused. Ok, an Apple is a room with all the lights on and everybody identifies it as red but if someone where to turn off all the lights in the room suddenly everybody believes the apple is black. How can I prove that the apple is indeed still Red. I understand that nobody can prove somebody elses senses without confirming their own and I understand that reality is objective because even if someone wishes for something to happen it can and most often doesn't but how does someone prove the apple is still red with the lights off?

Thank you,

David C.

Be careful what questions you ask. You might ruin philosophy.

John Locke made a distinction between primary and secondary qualities. He would call shape a primary quality and color a secondary quality. He probably did not intend any harm by making this distinction.

George Berkeley took this distinction and used it to prove that matter does not exist. (All qualities are secondary.) Nobody could refute his proof. Someone tried to refute his proof by kicking a rock.

David Hume took it a step more and proved that mind does not exist.

Kant read Hume and figured something is wrong with philosophy and wrote 'Critique of Pure Reason', probably the most evil book ever written.

All this because John Locke made a distinction between primary and secondary qualities.

Ayn Rand rejected the distinction.

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Ayn Rand rejected the distinction.

Interesting.

Specifically how?

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Ayn Rand rejected the distinction.

Interesting.

Specifically how?

I googled [ayn rand primary secondary qualities]

Top of the list:

http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/Jetton/The_Primary-Secondary_Quality_Distinction.shtml

Question to ponder: Does a rainbow exist?

You see the rainbow. If you trust your eyes, you gotta believe it exists. But what is the nature of the existence of the rainbow? The rainbow is a result of:

a. the sun

b. rain drops refracting and reflecting light

c. the point of observation

If I understand Kant correctly, Kant would have us believe that all reality is like the rainbow. It sortuv exists and sortuv does not exist. It is possible that I don't understand Kant correctly. Many years ago I tried very hard to read and understand 'Critique of Pure Reason'. After trying very hard for a long time, I figured I don't have the cerebral capacity to understand him and quit.

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Description of Kant's style.

http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Immanuel_Kant

One often overlooked feature of Kant's work, something which is distinguishable in all of his writings and even in those of his lectures and addresses that have been transcribed, is the style he uses, often imitated yet, as modern scholarship agrees, never bettered, which involves the use of a sentence structure which, in many commentaries, has been described as "convoluted", due to its heavy dependence on subclauses, some of which have subclauses themselves, and subclauses on downwards, potentially forever, to the extent that some Cuntian statements are in fact infinitely long, the result of which, often, is the creation of such a gap between the subject, or, as was often the case in his later works, subjects, and predicate, of which there could only be one per subject, or set thereof, as to render the entire statement, to the vast majority of readers in the original, but, perhaps, still more in translation, entirely incomprehensible.

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Kant read Hume and figured something is wrong with philosophy and wrote 'Critique of Pure Reason', probably the most evil book ever written.

Evil? It is one of the most incomprehensible books ever written, but where is the evil. Please produce page and line numbers.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Kant read Hume and figured something is wrong with philosophy and wrote 'Critique of Pure Reason', probably the most evil book ever written.

Evil? It is one of the most incomprehensible books ever written, but where is the evil. Please produce page and line numbers.

Ba'al Chatzaf

I don't know. Ask Ayn Rand.

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/kant,_immanuel.html

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Hello Guys/Gals,

I feel like I have asked a similar question a thousand times but I still find myself confused. Ok, an Apple is a room with all the lights on and everybody identifies it as red but if someone where to turn off all the lights in the room suddenly everybody believes the apple is black. How can I prove that the apple is indeed still Red. I understand that nobody can prove somebody elses senses without confirming their own and I understand that reality is objective because even if someone wishes for something to happen it can and most often doesn't but how does someone prove the apple is still red with the lights off?

Thank you,

David C.

Be careful what questions you ask. You might ruin philosophy.

John Locke made a distinction between primary and secondary qualities. He would call shape a primary quality and color a secondary quality. He probably did not intend any harm by making this distinction.

George Berkeley took this distinction and used it to prove that matter does not exist. (All qualities are secondary.) Nobody could refute his proof. Someone tried to refute his proof by kicking a rock.

David Hume took it a step more and proved that mind does not exist.

Kant read Hume and figured something is wrong with philosophy and wrote 'Critique of Pure Reason', probably the most evil book ever written.

All this because John Locke made a distinction between primary and secondary qualities.

Ayn Rand rejected the distinction.

This didn't really answer my question. If reality can only be perceived through human senses how can Ayn Rand fully prove reality as objective? How could she deny a God, maybe she just isn't sensing him?

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If reality can only be perceived through human senses how can Ayn Rand fully prove reality as objective? How could she deny a God, maybe she just isn't sensing him?

Hmm...like:

"Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996). Mr. Titelman agrees that this saying has its roots in the Bible, specifically Jer. 5:21 (King James version): "Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not."

"There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know. The proverb has been traced back in English to 1546 (John Heywood), and resembles the Biblical verse quoted (above). In 1738, it was used by Jonathan Swift in his 'Polite Conversation,' and is first attested in the United States in the 1713 'Works of Thomas Chalkley'..." http://phrases.shu.ac.uk/bulletin_board/5/messages/836.html

A...

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If reality can only be perceived through human senses how can Ayn Rand fully prove reality as objective? How could she deny a God, maybe she just isn't sensing him?

Hmm...like:

"Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996). Mr. Titelman agrees that this saying has its roots in the Bible, specifically Jer. 5:21 (King James version): "Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not."

"There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know. The proverb has been traced back in English to 1546 (John Heywood), and resembles the Biblical verse quoted (above). In 1738, it was used by Jonathan Swift in his 'Polite Conversation,' and is first attested in the United States in the 1713 'Works of Thomas Chalkley'..." http://phrases.shu.ac.uk/bulletin_board/5/messages/836.html

A...

Thanks, I think I am starting to understand it. :)

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Getting back to the subject of the color of the apple:

The research of von Frisch showed that bees see colors not the same as humans. Bees see red and black as the same. Bees see orange and yellow and green as one color; Frisch called the color bee yellow. Bees see blue-green as a special color; he called it bee blue-green. Bees see blue and violet as one color; he called it bee blue. Bees see an ultraviolet color, invisible to humans; Frisch called it bee ultraviolet. All the colors of the human spectrum together make white. All the bee colors together made a distinct color to bees but not an attractive color; Frisch called it bee white. The ends of the human spectrum, red and violet, together make purple. The ends of the bee spectrum, bee yellow and bee ultraviolet, together made a distinct and attractive color; Frisch called it bee purple.

Someone got the bright idea to make a special kind of camera with a lens that lets ultraviolet thru and film that makes bee colors. Then they took pictures of thousands of flowers. Every flower that bees visit without exception had a visual nectar guide. Sometimes this visual nectar guide is visible to us, as in the case of the tiger lilly; sometimes not visible or only slightly visible, as in the case of the dandelion. Flowers that are white to humans are bee blue green to bees, a very attractive color to bees. There is no such thing as a bee white flower unless it is a flower that bees don't visit.

To the eye of a bee, foliage is dark and flowers are bright. so they stand out.

When bees get close to the flower, it has an olfactory nectar guide. Humans can't notice because they can't get that close to a flower. As a rough rule of thumb, what smells good to humans smells good to bees, and what smells bad to humans smells bad to bees, but there are exceptions. But that is getting off the subject of the color of the apple.

Eagles and owls have 4 primary colors. Humans have only 3 primary colors, red green blue. If computer monitors were made for eagles and owls, they would need 4 bytes per pixel instead of 3. One of the 4 is ultraviolet.

We can imagine a life form on a planet lightyears away that has 5 or 6 or 10 primary colors. And they might see zillions of colors. Who knows what the color(s) of the apple might be to this life form?

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It is the apple, the senses that perceive it, and the light waves that produce a particular perception that are objective. An objective world does not entail that every perception of every sentient being must be the same in every circumstance. The problem is not that an object may display different colors in different circumstances, for those differences can be explained by objective means, and that's no more of a philosophical problem than the fact that the same object, say a chair, will look different if viewed from different angles. The real problem would be if an object were always to appear the same regardless of the circumstances and nature of the sensory apparatus perceiving it. Or if the apple randomly alternated between looking red in the light and black in the light, and red in the dark and black in the dark, then you might have a case for subjectivity, but not if the colors are consistent in the same circumstances.

Rand's point was that our perception of the external world depends on the nature of our senses, but the interaction between the two does not render reality somehow."subjective." The light waves that interact with our eyes exist objectively, and it is the job of reason to explain why we sometimes experience the same thing in different ways under different conditions.

I discussed the relativity of sense perception in a lengthy dialogue that appears in my first book, Atheism: The Case Against God (1974). I wrote that dialogue ("Skepticism and Sense Perception," pp. 147-62) while in college as a lecture for the UA Students of Objectivism and incorporated it, with minor changes, a few years later into my book, but I think it still hold up well.

Ghs

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This didn't really answer my question. If reality can only be perceived through human senses how can Ayn Rand fully prove reality as objective? How could she deny a God, maybe she just isn't sensing him?

How could one prove anything in a nonobjective world? But let's bypass that problem for now and focus on a personal question: What would you accept as proof? What would you need to hear before you said, "Okay, now I'm convinced that an objective reality actually does exist."

There is an old joke about a philosophy student who told her professor that, after being perplexed by Berkeley's arguments, she had finally decided to accept the existence of an external world. The professor replied, "Egad! You'd better!"

There is another joke about a freshman philosophy student who, after learning about Descartes, Hume, Berkeley, and other philosophers, got very confused. So after class she approached her professor and asked, "Tell me, professor, do I really exist?" He replied, "Who wants to know?"

Ghs

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Kant read Hume and figured something is wrong with philosophy and wrote 'Critique of Pure Reason', probably the most evil book ever written.

Rand's infamous comment that Kant was the most evil man in the history of western civilization was probably the dumbest thing she ever wrote. We all say dumb things from time to time--some of us even publish them so they can haunt us forever--so I'm willing to give Rand a pass on that howler. But I don't understand Rand's admirers, most of whom have never read a word of Kant, who regurgitate that nonsense. It makes O'ists look like ignorant dogmatists. Granted, some of them are ignorant dogmatists, but I just wish they wouldn't make it so fucking obvious.

Ghs

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Eagles and owls have 4 primary colors. Humans have only 3 primary colors, red green blue. If computer monitors were made for eagles and owls, they would need 4 bytes per pixel instead of 3. One of the 4 is ultraviolet.

We can imagine a life form on a planet lightyears away that has 5 or 6 or 10 primary colors. And they might see zillions of colors. Who knows what the color(s) of the apple might be to this life form?

Color is in the back of our heads (where the visual cortex is located) and taste is not in our mouths or noses. We evolved to see in the frequency range of the sun with the most energy. We are bright daylight animals.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Color is a consequence of a physicality. It's perception a separate matter.

Color is a consequence of a physicality. It's perception a separate matter.

Frequency of light is a physical matter..... Color is the subjective qualia associated with frequency. It is not the same for all people. Consider the color blind folk...

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You also need a perceiver, not a color-blind guy...

A color-blind guy IS a perceiver, as is a guy a with one or more shifted color sensors, as is a guy with extra-chromatic abilities (a guy with additional sensors which can see farther into infrared or ultraviolet).

J

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Then how can Ayn Rand say reality is objective, is her only proof through humans senses?

DC,

Correct.

In the Randian theory of concepts, the sequence goes as follows (from the primary to the most abstract):

Sensory Input --> Percepts --> Concepts --> Concepts about concepts

For some reason she claimed sensory input alone is not retained in memory. An act of integration is needed for that. This is not necessarily true, but that's what she wrote. In fact, the lack of a good theory of memory is one of the weaknesses in Objectivist epistemology.

During integration of sensory input, abstract "things" get formed called percepts and these abstract things are retained in memory.

Percepts are integrated by humans according to an algebraic form she delineated (she even came up with the term "conceptual common denominator") into more complex abstract "things" called concepts, and, using the same formula, abstractions from abstractions also occur to form higher level concepts.

You don't prove sensory input in Objectivist epistemology. Sensory input is the ultimate proof.

Higher level concepts about sensory input can show where integration can be misleading under such-and-such situations or for such-and-such individuals, but sensory input is primary for everyone with a conceptual brain.

In this theory, if no sensory input is possible to humans about a thing, there is no way for it to be objective.

Some go further and claim, in this case, there is no objective thing to even consider. They project the epistemological on the metaphysical.

It's an interesting conundrum. If humans can't know something through the senses they have, does that mean it is impossible for that something to exist? And here all hell breaks loose. :smile:

Michael

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Linguists assert that no language invents words for "brown" and "purple" until after blue is differentiated from green. Our own recent ancestors did not perceive the world the way we do.

In a room without light, the apple is not "black." It is invisible. That is also the same problem as Superman's x-ray vision. We perceive light reflected from surfaces. With x-ray vision (the ability to see through everything), he would be blind.

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