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Thread: Does black exist?

  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Black in the OP is defined by it's effect on the brain. By that standard, if you can perceive it as black, it's black.
    Actually, the OP drew an explicit distinction between what exists, and what is an effect on the brain. The question was essentially, does black exist on its own terms, or is it just something a brain does when it doesn't know what else to do? Most of what follows in this thread is essentially an attempt to break down that distinction, because we can understand what we mean by "black" much better when we include understanding of how our brains work. Odd that so much effort is targeted here at disrupting that distinction, where almost everywhere else you find the topic of "existence", so much effort is spent on the attempt to maintain that distinction!
    Last edited by Ken G; 2019-Sep-29 at 01:48 PM.

  2. #92
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    i am not entirely sure the ‘blind’ spot is not noticed because it is filled in with data from the other eye.
    i think the ‘blind spot’ is ignored by the brain.
    same goes for the blackness you DON’T see when you blink every 5 seconds.

    it seems obvious to me that a relative lack of photon data is necessary but not sufficient to produce the sensaon of’blackness’.

    another interesting thought .... would a person who is blind from birth be ‘living in darkness/blackness’? i would suspect not. Untestable?
    Last edited by plant; 2019-Oct-01 at 01:27 AM.
    "It's only a model....?" :-)
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  3. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by plant View Post
    i am not entirely sure the ‘blind’ spot is not noticed because it is filled in with data from the other eye.
    i think the ‘blind spot’ is ignored by the brain.
    same goes for the blackness you DON’T see when you blink every 5 seconds.

    it seems obvious to me that a relative lack of photon data is necessary but not sufficient to produce the sensaon of’blackness’.

    another interesting thought .... would a person who is blind from birth be ‘living in darkness/blackness’? i would suspect not. Untestable?
    In my post on the blind spot topic I neglected to say that I was looking with one eye and the other one was closed, so there was no matching field for filling in.

  4. #94
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    The brain does an awful lot of work filling in missing information. Only the centre of our field of vision is detailed and in colour (I'm sure Grant will provide some corrections to this) so I have seen a demo of eye-tracking where all the words on a screen are replaced with random nonsense apart from the specific word being looked at. The viewer can read perfectly normally, unaware that the nonsense is replaced by words as they look at each point on the screen.

    Similarly, the brain "back fills" the information missing when the eyes move (saccades) with what it sees now, so you are not aware of gaps in perception. This explains the "stopped clock" illusion. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronostasis

  5. #95
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    wow.. i think chronostasis might explain something i noticed a few years ago.

    when you are (for example) driving in car, and look at a passing car's wheels, the image of the rotating wheel / hubcap is blurry.
    if you deliberately blink, you can 'freeze frame' the image.

    I didn't know what this was called!
    "It's only a model....?" :-)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3dZl3yfGpc

  6. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Actually, the OP drew an explicit distinction between what exists, and what is an effect on the brain. The question was essentially, does black exist on its own terms, or is it just something a brain does when it doesn't know what else to do? Most of what follows in this thread is essentially an attempt to break down that distinction, because we can understand what we mean by "black" much better when we include understanding of how our brains work. Odd that so much effort is targeted here at disrupting that distinction, where almost everywhere else you find the topic of "existence", so much effort is spent on the attempt to maintain that distinction!
    Yeah, I wondered if you would say something about it.

    Perhaps the difference is, well, a bit touchy. But I'm being literal; if it can't be touched even in principal, then why bother arguing whether or not it exists? Black, nor (or is it "or") any color, has no feel. [Green, perhaps, if Kermit has much to say about it.]
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  7. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    Yeah, I wondered if you would say something about it.

    Perhaps the difference is, well, a bit touchy. But I'm being literal; if it can't be touched even in principal, then why bother arguing whether or not it exists?
    I just found it ironic that we have no trouble at all debating about what blackness "actually is", because it spurs a discussion about how the brain interprets information, yet for some reason many don't see how that precise same discussion can be triggered when we consider how the brain affects our concept of existence in all situations. Even if you bring in "feel," that's still just more brain processing of information. If you ask me, what is happening is that when we know what the brain is doing, we see a mind-affected version of existence, and we imagine it must therefore be some other type of existence. The bottom line is, once you understand what a quale like "blackness" is, it's a rather small step to the recognition that "all is qualia."
    Last edited by Ken G; 2019-Oct-01 at 05:10 PM.

  8. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    I just found it ironic that we have no trouble at all debating about what blackness "actually is", because it spurs a discussion about how the brain interprets information, yet for some reason many don't see how that precise same discussion can be triggered when we consider how the brain affects our concept of existence in all situations. Even if you bring in "feel," that's still just more brain processing of information. If you ask me, what is happening is that when we know what the brain is doing, we see a mind-affected version of existence, and we imagine it must therefore be some other type of existence. The bottom line is, once you understand what a quale like "blackness" is, it's a rather small step to the recognition that "all is qualia."
    Agreed, it's as if "degree" becomes "kind"; variety becomes species. Given a high enough level of experiential evidence, then existence is established. This is okay in a practical sense but it, well, takes the mind off the ball.

    Perhaps the color analogy, especially black, will brighten things a bit.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  9. #99
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    Bringing our thinking out of the dark ages, eh?

  10. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Bringing our thinking out of the dark ages, eh?
    Thatís really bad. I think you should take it black.


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  11. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Thatís really bad. I think you should take it black.
    Ah! Black is colorful, thus it's a color, thus it exists. QED!
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  12. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Actually, the OP drew an explicit distinction between what exists, and what is an effect on the brain. The question was essentially, does black exist on its own terms, or is it just something a brain does when it doesn't know what else to do? Most of what follows in this thread is essentially an attempt to break down that distinction, because we can understand what we mean by "black" much better when we include understanding of how our brains work. Odd that so much effort is targeted here at disrupting that distinction, where almost everywhere else you find the topic of "existence", so much effort is spent on the attempt to maintain that distinction!
    I've never said subjectivity doesn't exist!

    But in this case, yes, I did misinterpret the OP's question. Mea culpa.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  13. #103
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    But that's the issue, is "blackness" subjective or objective? The arguments we saw above that traced "blackness" directly to brain function were not subjective arguments, they are quite objective-- they apply equally well to the great majority of every human on this planet, and are informed by the minor differences in how our different brains work, objectively considered. That's a key point, science deals in what is objective, so the science of brain function deals in what is objective also. Which gets quite interesting when it crosses a line into what we normally think of as subjective experience ("qualia"). So if the line from subjective to objective can be crossed in the way outlined in this thread, how hard is it to use a similar analysis when considering crossing the line from objective to subjective? The ability to study the crossing of that line seems to be limited only by our understanding of the brain, not by any inherent differences between what is fundamentally objective and what is fundamentally subjective. To me, that line is precisely what the OP was asking about, and the question could be framed as "on which side of that line is blackness?" The answer has come back: neither, the line does not exist in regard to blackness. So by extension, the question becomes, on which side does an electron lie, or the flavor of ice cream? When the brain is understood better, the answer there might also be, neither side-- we like the electron concept because our brains work such-and-such, and we like ice cream because of such-and-such, and so on.

  14. #104
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    In an article from sky and scope about things were not black but blank--I seem to remember it was said that a midnight black cat at noon was brighter than a softly glowing bit of white paper at night.

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