Qualia of color, and what pain is.

A big question in philosophy is whether we all see the same colors, that is, is my experience of red the same as someone else’s, or is it that, when I see red, someone else would experience blue?

As I age, my synapses change, but my experience, and memory, of colors does not. I see red as a 53-year-old as I did as a 3-year-old.

If I were to duplicate myself, there would be no disagreement as to whether I or my duplicate would see the same colors. As time moves on, our brains’ synaptic structures would differ because we would be subjected to different experiences. However, we would still be able to experience colors as we did at the beginning of our joint existence, as we would retain our memories of what a red fire truck or a blue and white police car would look like.

Thus, the synaptic branching has no effect on whether we experience colors differently. Duplicates of people would see colors the same as the original person.

The same should be said of clones, who share the same DNA, yet almost immediately develop different synaptic branching due to different experiences.

If the experience of what a color is, an object’s redness, for example, does not change over time (actually it does, since our eyes get cloudier as time goes on, but our brains do compensate; and I neglect those rare people with two types of red cones in their retinas).

If the synaptic differences between two people make no difference to experiencing colors, it would seem highly unlikely that two human beings with different DNA would not have the same experience of redness. Different brains, different synaptic branching, but, nevertheless, red i s red and blue is blue, for everyone but the color blind, or those with two types of cones for the color red.

From me young to me older; me duplicated; me cloned; me and my identical twin; me and other people. We all experience redness the same way.

With regards to pain, people have asked “What is pain? Where is it?” Pain is an experience, it isn’t a “thing” one can point to.

But here I believe that people are being too literal. We have efferent and afferent nerves throughout our bodies, which tell us where our bodies are in space at any given time. Pain represents a dislocation of our body parts, in a sense. Something is wrong with where parts of our body should be, and we get a sensation of pain. Pain is no different in character than an optical illusion. People do not question optical illusions, they understand how they come about, and they know that they aren’t “real” in the sense of being literally real. But optical illusions are an experience of something being out of whack, and pain is the exact same thing. Only instead of dealing with one’s eyes, pain refers to the body map getting misaligned.


About johnvkaravitis

Senior Financial Analyst: Energy, Insurance, IT consulting, Pharmaceuticals, Publishing, Real Estate
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4 Responses to Qualia of color, and what pain is.

  1. Guest says:

    Redness is like the taste of the steak. My perception of redness is not the same as tours because your brain is different.

  2. Guest says:

    https://youtu.be/SNWVvZi3HX8 They are arguing a similar point.

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