Two things about colors worth considering (the second thing)
Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on July 16, 2006
Specific colors transcending time and space
If I see green thing now,and if I see it again later, I can recognize the color as the same. Recognizing as same must come before learning the word for the thing and later recognition of sameness based on abstractions.
Namely, it is true that today I can see a green thing, and remember that it is green, and then tomorrow when I see other green thing, to say “this things is same color as the other thing I saw yesterday”, without even remembering what is the color I saw yesterday. But the learning of words can’t come before recognizing the color I see today as same with the color I saw yesterday. I must become aware of the repeating identity to which the word refer, to become sure that it is the thing to which the words is supposed to refer.
I’m mixing communication and words in the argument here… but the words are not necessary for that. I might have not seen cyan and magenta in my life. And today I might see cyan… there it is – a new color for me, color that I haven’t seen. Tomorrow, I can see cyan again, and recognize it as the same color; not just that it would be abstractly same, but it would hold identity in its givenness so to say. I might see magenta (other color I haven’t seen), and it will not be same as cyan to me, even abstractly (or based on language), it would be just “not one of the colors I know”.
So, those specific colors (maybe I should put “phenomenal” as distinction, but I would argue saying “colors” is enough) transcend time. Of course the power to recognize different colors is fallible, and person can be trained to recognize bigger or smaller differences. What I want to point to is that without this first kind possibility of identity (or maybe similarity is better word) there is no way for either abstract account of colors, nor fallibility (what does fallible mean if not failing to do what is seen as possible?).
It is much more easier to point to the specific colors transcending space. One just need to look at a patch with certain shade of color (without shadow/3d rotation complications), to be confronted with a specific color appearing across the space. In fact there is no reason why it should be one patch, there can be two, three or more patches one beside another, all being in same specific color. And as we see them, the color is the same color all across – it transcends space.