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  • You know a funny thing about the contemporary

  • neuroscience of consciousness is it's really closet philosophy. It's really it's

  • very often making fundamental philosophical assumptions. That is to say it\\'92s taking

  • certain philosophical ideas for granted and it\\'92s often using empirical information

  • simply to reanimate old debates. For example, one of the basic sort of guiding pictures

  • I think that people thinking about the neuroscience of consciousness have is that the world is

  • in our head The brain makes the world, that is what we experience is not\\'97I don\\'92t

  • experience you. I don\\'92t see you. I experience something in my brain that is confabulated

  • on the basis of a pattern of stimulation.\\ Let me come to the nature of color as an example

  • to try to illustrate what I have in mind. And by the way this is a wonderful area where

  • both science and philosophy have tended to really collaborate, have been in dialogue

  • with each other and in many cases the leading philosophers have also been the leading scientists

  • thinking about this. One view is that color is a property of the surfaces of objects,

  • not the property we naively think we see, but maybe something like a disposition to

  • absorb and reflect light of certain wavelengths and to produce a sort of what is known as

  • a spectral reflectance profile, but the color is on the surface. Another view is that it\\'92s

  • an illusion to think of color as something in the thing, that color is merely an affect

  • that the thing has on us. In that sense the color happens to us. The leaves in the tree

  • are not green. Greenness is just something that happens. In me it\\'92s a kind of sensation

  • that is produced thanks to the activation of my nervous system by those leaves.\\

  • My own view is that both of those views are wrong. I advocate the view that color is what

  • you might call an ecological property and by that I mean color is a feature of the way

  • light and surfaces interact. It\\'92s not in that sense intrinsic to the surface of the

  • leaf that it is green. Its greenness is the way it behaves in relation to lighting. So

  • we think of the color as stable, but of course the color looks one way under one light and

  • if you take it outside it looks different and if you turn it in certain ways there will

  • be highlights and sort of little specular shining points on the surfaces of things that

  • are all part of the real color of the thing. For me colors are like shapes. Just as a three-dimensional

  • shape has a hidden backside so colors have hidden ways they would look if the conditions

  • of lighting were changed.\\ The problem of skepticism about the external

  • world, how do we know that things are the way they seem to be, how do we know that our

  • perceptual experiences are reliable is a chestnut. It\\'92s an old philosophical chestnut that

  • I can\\'92t solve for you right now and that neuroscience can\\'92t solve, but what I\\'92d

  • like to impress on you is that neuroscience has taken a solution to that or at least an

  • attitude towards that old philosophical chestnut for granted and most neuroscientists working

  • on consciousness suppose experience is something that happens inside of me. It\\'92s subjective.

  • It\\'92s hidden. The world is this we know not what which is beyond the surfaces of our

  • tent. Beyond the reach of our direct knowledge because all we ever know is the way our nervous

  • system is bombarded by stimulation, that which is causing the stimulation is always beyond

  • Directed / Produced byJonathan Fowler

  • & Elizabeth Rodd

  • }

You know a funny thing about the contemporary

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B1 neuroscience philosophical chestnut stimulation consciousness hidden

How Do We Perceive Color?

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    VoiceTube posted on 2015/06/09
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