Sign in to follow this  
blackhorse

Synesthesia

Recommended Posts

Has anyone here heard of the neurological condition called Synesthesia? In a nutshell it is a condition where an individual may hear and smell colors, letters may have color codes and numbers produce sounds, etc. Here's an excellent link from wikipedia describing it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia.

So if A is A, then how would something like Synesthesia affect that statement? Obviously we are dealing with perceptions that are out of the norm, but not abnormal. The individuals who have Synesthesia aren't fabricating a false reality, but are percieving it at a different angle. Very fascinating stuff. So A is still A, plus a lot more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Has anyone here heard of the neurological condition called Synesthesia? In a nutshell it is a condition where an individual may hear and smell colors, letters may have color codes and numbers produce sounds, etc. Here's an excellent link from wikipedia describing it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia.

So if A is A, then how would something like Synesthesia affect that statement? Obviously we are dealing with perceptions that are out of the norm, but not abnormal. The individuals who have Synesthesia aren't fabricating a false reality, but are percieving it at a different angle. Very fascinating stuff. So A is still A, plus a lot more.

Yes, I have heard of synesthesia; it is a fascinating mode of consciousness. Apart from the questions of identity you raise above, synesthesiacs cast an interesting light on the question of learned vs. inborn "talents" and "abilities"...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Tammet

RCR

Edited by R. Christian Ross

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think that synesthesiacs are able to appreciate art and nature to a greater depth than others.

I am not so sure of the depth. We can do depth by technological enhancement of our senses. But a synesthesiac sure does perceive things -differently-. Which gets us to an essential question. How much of the world as -phenomenon- depend on our wet works as opposed to its inherent nature. Was Kant right for separating the phenomenon from the noumenon? How much of our grasp of the world is internally generated as contrasted with externally imposed? Where does appearance stop and reality begin? What is the essential boundary between substance and form? These questions are The Oldies but Goodies of Philosophy and after three thousand years they have not been fully answered.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is an interesting phenomenon, but "A = A" has nothing to do with it. This tautology doesn't tell us anything useful about the world, so it's irrelevant.

I like to think that the Law of Identity does tell us something about the world which is useful. It is comforting to know that what we do learn about stuff abiding by the scientific method will constitute knowledge. The fact that there is a distinction between fantasy and reality is useful. Not to mention that we live in a rational, knowable, predictable universe, to borrow a phrase from Nathaniel Branden.

It helps to know that there are no contradictions in the universe so if one encounters an apparent contradiction it means that one has made an error.

Come to think of it, your comment reveals a lack of such appreciation on your part and suggests a hyper critical streak beyond normal skepticism. Your attitude reminds me of the fact that there are those who are blind and those who refuse to see.

I fear I have started to beat my head against the wall trying to point out anything to you.

galt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Come to think of it, your comment reveals a lack of such appreciation on your part and suggests a hyper critical streak beyond normal skepticism. Your attitude reminds me of the fact that there are those who are blind and those who refuse to see.

No, there's a problem with it. The problem is that it is simply an uninteresting tautology that places no meaningful restrictions or constraints on anything and therefore cannot be used meaningfully in any logical chain or argument. The fact that it is often offered as justification for anything, as Rand herself did, forces someone who has an appreciation for logic, truth, and honesty to hypercritically distrust any use of it whatsoever.

Bob

Edited by Bob_Mac

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I like to think that the Law of Identity does tell us something about the world which is useful. It is comforting to know that what we do learn about stuff abiding by the scientific method will constitute knowledge. The fact that there is a distinction between fantasy and reality is useful. Not to mention that we live in a rational, knowable, predictable universe, to borrow a phrase from Nathaniel Branden.

It helps to know that there are no contradictions in the universe so if one encounters an apparent contradiction it means that one has made an error.

The Law of Non-Contradiction or its equivalent, The Law of Identity is a handy dandy error spotter. If anything contradicts either of them, as you point out, you know there is a mistake somewhere.

However neither Law produces any positive specific results about the world. They are tautologies, which are true in all possible worlds. So to get positive usable results, other means must be employed.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am skeptical about synesthesia. I suspect it may often be a learned association that comes about because the person played with colored alphabet blocks or magnets as a child. And, it could be that musical synesthetics who agree on the "colors" of different notes all played with the Fisher Price Xylophone (with the colored keys) as children!

I would grudgingly accept that musical notes might be felt to have a "color" in the sense that a certain color and a certain musical note might evoke a similar feeling in a person, but I can't accept that about letters. I don't see how there could be anything "inherently purple" about the letter X, for example.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am skeptical about synesthesia. I suspect it may often be a learned association that comes about because the person played with colored alphabet blocks or magnets as a child. And, it could be that musical synesthetics who agree on the "colors" of different notes all played with the Fisher Price Xylophone (with the colored keys) as children!

The fact that specific correlations may be learned, does not imply that synesthesia is not a real phenomenon. It is probably caused by a neurological condition that makes it possible to develop such involuntary links between different senses. Some people have it, most don't have it. I can recommend the Wikipedia article that was mentioned in the first post.

I would grudgingly accept that musical notes might be felt to have a "color" in the sense that a certain color and a certain musical note might evoke a similar feeling in a person, but I can't accept that about letters. I don't see how there could be anything "inherently purple" about the letter X, for example.

There may not be anything inherently purple about the letter X, but it is not inconceivable that this specific letter may trigger some pattern in the brain that in people with that condition may be associated significantly more with one particular color (like purple) than with other colors, for example while that letter and that color happen to generate somewhat similar patterns, but in different parts of the brain, so that activation of one part may trigger by cross-talk the other part. This is of course just speculation on my part, I only want to show that it is not a priori impossible that a certain letter is systematically associated with a certain color, even if there is no direct physical relationship between that letter and that color. From the Wikipedia article I gather that although there are variations in the associations, there are also systematic tendencies. Of course this could also be the result of common learning experiences, as you indicate, or it might be a combination of such factors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I like to think that the Law of Identity does tell us something about the world which is useful. It is comforting to know that what we do learn about stuff abiding by the scientific method will constitute knowledge. The fact that there is a distinction between fantasy and reality is useful. Not to mention that we live in a rational, knowable, predictable universe, to borrow a phrase from Nathaniel Branden.

Please reconcile this with quantum physics, which is overwhelmingly supported by experimental evidence. Shoot electrons through a Stern-Gerlach magnet and the only thing we can predict are the -odds- that the resulting intrinsic spin will be up or down relative to the axis of the magnet. The odds are 50-50.

The odds are known, the output is not.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't see how there could be anything "inherently purple" about the letter X, for example.

From the Wikipedia article;

'Proof that someone is a synesthete is easy to come by, and hard to "fake." The simplest test involves test-retest reliability over long periods of time. Synesthetes consistently score higher on such tests than non-synesthetes (either with color names, color chips or even a color picker providing 16.7 million color choices). Synesthetes may score as high as 90% consistent over test-retest intervals of up to one year, while non-synesthetes will score 30-40% consistent over test-retest intervals of only one month, even if warned that they are going to be retested"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this