One explanation for this is that colours are light-reflectance profiles. That is, they correspond to dispositions of objects to reflect certain wavelengths of light when placed under suitable illumination. Thus, a ripe tomato has the disposition to reflect mainly red light waves, whereas a ripe banana reflects mainly yellow light (or some combination of red and green) to produce its characteristic yellow appearance. Of course, everyone agrees that this is why ripe tomatoes look red whilst bananas look yellow, but crucially, reflectance profiles are properties of external physical objects and not of our minds. This would suggest that, far from being illusory, colours are perfectly objective, physical properties of the objects we see around us, just as we commonsensically take them to be.
The fly-leaf to the first (1946) UK edition of Aldous Huxley's begins:-
"Beneath the revelations of all the great world religions, the teaching of the wise and holy of all faiths and the mystical experiences of every race and age, there lies a basic unity of belief which is the closest approximation man can attain to truth and ultimate reality.
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Just because the perceptual system can be fooled in certain cases doesn’t mean that it’s inaccurate in all cases. To see why, it’s helpful to consider why this illusion works at all. The printed chequerboard diagram mimics the appearance of a real three-dimensional chequerboard in which a shadow is cast by a cylindrical object. Our visual system compensates for this apparent darkening in a way that enables us to correctly judge that the spots and squares are of different colours in the three-dimensional case, as they would need to be to create this appearance.
Illusion vs Realitu Essay - 1288 Words
The problem, then, is not that reality contains no colours, but rather that it contains too many, both within and beyond the range of electromagnetic radiation to which our eyes are sensitive. Many of these exotic look identical or are completely invisible to us, making our perceptual abilities limited at best. Does this mean that the colours we are capable of seeing are somehow unreal? Not necessarily. To understand why, let us consider a different example: the notion of solidity.
Illusion Papers & Reality Vs
We have now identified two different properties, each of which can be thought of as a kind of . Consequently, it makes sense to say both that everyday objects are solid (at the macroscopic level) and that they consist of mostly empty space (at the microscopic level) without fear of contradiction. The two claims relate to quite different properties, both of which objects possess at the relevant scale. The temptation to say that solidity is an illusion arises from our tendency to conflate these two properties, bringing the scientific and commonsense views into apparent conflict. In practice, however, provided that we are careful about our use of language and understand each term in its proper context, these two views are perfectly compatible. Solidity, as it is ordinarily understood, refers to a real physical property of objects – namely, their ability to repel one another on contact – and so is not illusory after all. What, if anything, has changed is the meaning of the word .
Hamlet: Illusion vs. Reality Essays - 1981 Words | Cram
How, then, does this apply in the case of colour? I suggested above that there are many more in the world than humans are capable of perceiving. But what is meant here by ? If it is the familiar shades of red, blue, yellow, and so on, then such exotica do not qualify as colours in the ordinary sense. We use the term to pick out what are colours for us. The existence of light reflectance profiles or metamers that yield colour-like experiences in other kinds of creatures need not require us to suppose that our own colour experiences are somehow illusory any more than the space between atomic particles means that physical objects lack solidity.