"New" colours possible?
Mark A. Helms
the23enigma at altavista.com
Thu Jan 24 08:21:13 EST 2002
GuilfoyleMR at cardiff.ac.uk (Mathew Guilfoyle) wrote in message news:<4b9ea6a.0201070435.742d3da4 at posting.google.com>...
> The range of colours that we perceive has obviously been of some use
> in our evolution. The fact that we have not come to separate the
> visible specturm into thirty different colours has a reason. Your
> question as to whether we can 'see' new colours glosses over some
> major philosophical questions such as qualia.
Thank you for bringing up the word "qualia", despite your apparent
discomfort with the concept. Everyone - however acute their insights
thusfar - have failed to acknowledge that we're dealing with human
subjectivity here, manifested in the innate creativity of the brain in
formulating internal mappings of external phenomena. In essence, we're
talking about qualia.
> What I think is really the question is whether the visual cortex and
> associated areas can discern between the wavelength of light incident on
> the retina to a greater precision that that to which it is limited by the
> capabilities of the retina...
As crude a signal as the retina transmits to the brain, it's rather
miraculous that we can see with any real clarity. Again, we have the
brain to thank for solving the problem.
> On the subject of whether there are new colours...Ramachandran has reported
> that some synaesthetes he has studied experience 'strange' and 'new' colours
> in response to certain cues. You could theorize that patterns that usually go
> unused by the visual cortex in normals due to the limitations of the retina
> are sometimes inadvertently activated in these patients...
I was unaware of this particular work by Dr. Ramachandran. Just like
most of his work, this has me intrigued. Could you please tell me
where to look for a copy?
Whatever else I have to say just has to wait, for now.
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