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Thread: The brain as mind location

  1. #31
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    Are those three spirits like Aquinas' vegetable soul, animal soul and rational soul?
    SHARKS (crossed out) MONGEESE (sic) WITH FRICKIN' LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    Are those three spirits like Aquinas' vegetable soul, animal soul and rational soul?
    Same lineage - both Aquinas and Galen are referencing Aristotle's hierarchy of nutritive soul / sensitive soul / rational soul. Galen puts a physiological gloss on it; Aquinas a religous one.

    Grant Hutchison
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  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    Wasn't there also a theory I heard somewhere where, until 3000 years ago, humans were color-blind, also based on early writings?
    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Yes. There certainly something odd about the colour terms used in the Iliad and Odyssey. Homer's "wine-dark ocean", for instance. The Ancient Greeks seemed to parse the colour map more strongly in terms of saturation than hue. But that could equally be cultural, or literary convention.
    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    Would there not be a way to tell if certain physiological changes in the brain were that recent, via genetic information or something? Regarding color-blindness - color has such a subjective component, I'd be careful to draw any conclusions like that without (again) physiological evidence.
    I remember those articles getting passed around on FaceBook. The claim was that people couldn't distinguish blue until a few millennia ago, based on the lack of words for it back then. And it was crap.

    •At such a recent date, any change in how human eyes or brains work, or in how a culture tells us to interpret what our eyes tell us, would have only been able to spread to some fraction of the human population, only within the region where it originated; there's no way it's even possible for a change that affected everybody to be so recent. (And of the three basic color receptors in our retinas, the new kid on the block is red... at merely a few dozen million years ago.)

    •Lack of now-identifiable words for a particular color from back then wouldn't even be noteworthy because there are almost none known anyway. The color words we do have in writing from back then often have odd uses that give us trouble trying to decipher the words' actual meanings, and reconstruction of unwritten past languages from their known descendants has even more trouble recovering past color words. They shift in and out of color meanings too easily on much shorter time scales than that. Most colors have no known word from that era in most languages, most current colors words have known more recent origins, and other color words have shifted to mean something other than a color or even shifted from one color to another. So if lack of a simple straightforward translation for a modern color word in a past language meant people once couldn't distinguish that color, we'd have to say the same for almost all colors... and we'd also have to say that we've now lost the ability to distinguish some of their colors just because we're not sure how some of their color words were defined.

    •Blue is actually an exception to the above! Greek "kuanos", Latin "cyan", and Hittite "kuwanna" all have the meaning "blue". The Hittite cognate makes it the one color word with the oldest known attestation in the IE family, and even without that, the Greek one alone would still have it tied with red as the two oldest still-identifiable color words with relatively stable meanings since then, in which time most other colors' words have come and gone at least once apiece in most languages. Of all the colors the people who invented this impossible nonsense a few years ago for FaceBook could have said it about, they picked the worst or maybe second-worst one.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    I remember those articles getting passed around on FaceBook. The claim was that people couldn't distinguish blue until a few millennia ago, based on the lack of words for it back then. And it was crap.
    Certainly sounds simplistic, and also nothing like what I was reporting. The Greeks had a rich vocabulary of colour words - they just used them in ways that seem inconsistent to us.

    Grant Hutchison
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  5. #35
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    the greeks and romans certainly prized coloured minerals such as the blue lapis lazuli so it seems likely they were perfectly aware of colours, but i don't know of any references to red/green colour blindness and whether that was more or less prevalent than today.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  6. #36
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    The idea that the Ancient Greeks were colour-blind was first proposed by the British politician William Gladstone (he had a first in Classics from Oxford, so was well acquainted with Greek writing). But that was in the 1850s, and things have rather moved on - though I guess it's no surprise to see flawed century-old ideas resuscitated and taken seriously on social media. As I said, it seems the Greeks simply divided up colour space in a way that is unfamiliar today - in particular, they weren't much interest in hue, which is what wrong-foots us when we try to understand their use of colour terms.
    There's a useful entry in the Oxford Classical Dictionary:
    Greek colour terms do not organize visual experience primarily according to hue as does the modern English lexicon, but, rather, luminosity, texture, contrast, and further properties of the objects or phenomena they qualify.
    Ancient colour vocabulary, then, must be approached with the awareness that ‘colour’ as an English speaker would understand it, may not be the primary referent at all. Ancient Greek, for instance, furnished its speakers with a system of sensory adjectives that pick out visually and conceptually salient reference points encountered in several different cognitive domains of sensory experience, of which our ‘colour’ is only one.
    Grant Hutchison
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    Note:
    During life, we all develop attitudes and strategies to make our interactions with others more pleasant and useful. If I mention mine here, those comments can apply only to myself, my experiences and my situation. Such remarks cannot and should not be construed as dismissing, denigrating, devaluing or criticizing any different attitudes and strategies that other people have evolved as a result of their different situation and different experiences.

  7. #37
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    I know four, male, red/green colour blind interior designers who do well in hotels and the like, because they choose tones rather than colours and of course they avoid daring colours. So they rely on natural materials like wood and stone for inspiration and choose fabrics and paints that blend well for them. The result is bland but near universally acceptable and subtle too. It is also often cited that colourblindness defeats camouflage painting so there might be ancient advantages for colour blindness in hunting. The main colour advantage for gatherers is detecting ripe fruit. But do the colourblind have any advantage in low light rod vision?
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  8. #38
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    By curious synchronicity I've just finished reading (as in, earlier today) a short mystery story by Carter Dickson (a pen name for John Dickson Carr), "The Crime In Nobody's Room". We're supposed to realize that the perpetrator must be colour-blind, and eliminate some suspects accordingly - including an art critic and an interior designer!

    Grant Hutchison
    Blog

    Note:
    During life, we all develop attitudes and strategies to make our interactions with others more pleasant and useful. If I mention mine here, those comments can apply only to myself, my experiences and my situation. Such remarks cannot and should not be construed as dismissing, denigrating, devaluing or criticizing any different attitudes and strategies that other people have evolved as a result of their different situation and different experiences.

  9. #39
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    at least that's a change from the left handed cliche. As a left hander I must remember to use my right hand in the library with the candlestick to avoid suspicion. Oh and carry a packet of fluff from someone else's trouser turnup to sprinkle. But those ideas come from outside of course, I would never think of that myself.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  10. #40
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    Here is an interesting read:
    https://mindbodyproblems.com/

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    But do the colourblind have any advantage in low light rod vision?
    AFAIK no, they are just missing a pigment without compensation.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    Here is an interesting read:
    https://mindbodyproblems.com/
    It's a book summary.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    It is also often cited that colourblindness defeats camouflage painting so there might be ancient advantages for colour blindness in hunting.
    Some typical hunting targets are mammals but not primates or marsupials, so they don't have any of what we would call red receptors, making them all the equivalent of red-green color-blind. Camouflage that didn't work on red-green color-blind humans wouldn't work on those species. That would be a bit of a silly way to make camouflage.

    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    The main colour advantage for gatherers is detecting ripe fruit. But do the colourblind have any advantage in low light rod vision?
    Yes, if we figure your "the colourblind" refers to mammals in general. We all have only two or three types of cone, plus rods, while other vertebrates have four types of cone, but no rods. So mammals (even humans) are all color-blind compared to the others, but have better night vision. (It's that, along with mammals' more developed ears, that makes paleontologists think the mammal common ancestor's development was driven by a nocturnal lifestyle for a long time.)

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    I remember those articles getting passed around on FaceBook. The claim was that people couldn't distinguish blue until a few millennia ago, based on the lack of words for it back then. And it was crap.

    •At such a recent date, any change in how human eyes or brains work, or in how a culture tells us to interpret what our eyes tell us, would have only been able to spread to some fraction of the human population, only within the region where it originated; there's no way it's even possible for a change that affected everybody to be so recent. (And of the three basic color receptors in our retinas, the new kid on the block is red... at merely a few dozen million years ago.)

    •Lack of now-identifiable words for a particular color from back then wouldn't even be noteworthy because there are almost none known anyway. The color words we do have in writing from back then often have odd uses that give us trouble trying to decipher the words' actual meanings, and reconstruction of unwritten past languages from their known descendants has even more trouble recovering past color words. They shift in and out of color meanings too easily on much shorter time scales than that. Most colors have no known word from that era in most languages, most current colors words have known more recent origins, and other color words have shifted to mean something other than a color or even shifted from one color to another. So if lack of a simple straightforward translation for a modern color word in a past language meant people once couldn't distinguish that color, we'd have to say the same for almost all colors... and we'd also have to say that we've now lost the ability to distinguish some of their colors just because we're not sure how some of their color words were defined.

    •Blue is actually an exception to the above! Greek "kuanos", Latin "cyan", and Hittite "kuwanna" all have the meaning "blue". The Hittite cognate makes it the one color word with the oldest known attestation in the IE family, and even without that, the Greek one alone would still have it tied with red as the two oldest still-identifiable color words with relatively stable meanings since then, in which time most other colors' words have come and gone at least once apiece in most languages. Of all the colors the people who invented this impossible nonsense a few years ago for FaceBook could have said it about, they picked the worst or maybe second-worst one.
    Personally, I think they had problems finding blue pigments and had less need for words than not being able to see blue.

    I did an oil painting copy of a Van Gogh. The teacher would look at my technique and laugh. I couldn't figure out why. Apparently Van Gogh was sitting on a ready supply of manufactured paints and didn't mix colors unless he felt like it. He used them right out of the tube as he got them at the store. Trying to mix colors to match his was madness because they are relatively common. You just might not happen to have that tube available if you try to get paints on the cheap or don't think about a color pallet like a real artist.

    I recalled thinking: "They had paint stores back then?" Yes. Yes they did.
    Solfe

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