Document Detail

Color, consciousness, and the isomorphism constraint.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11301573     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The relations among consciousness, brain behavior, and scientific explanation are explored in the domain of color perception. Current scientific knowledge about color similarity, color composition, dimensional structure, unique colors, and color categories is used to assess Locke's "inverted spectrum argument" about the undetectability of color transformations. A symmetry analysis of color space shows that the literal interpretation of this argument--reversing the experience of a rainbow--would not work. Three other color to color transformations might work, however, depending on the relevance of certain color categories. The approach is then generalized to examine behavioral detection of arbitrary differences in color experiences, leading to the formulation of a principled distinction, called the "isomorphism constraint," between what can and cannot be determined about the nature of color experience by objective behavioral means. Finally, the prospects for achieving a biologically based explanation of color experience below the level of isomorphism are considered in light of the limitations of behavioral methods. Within-subject designs using biological interventions hold the greatest promise for scientific progress on consciousness, but objective knowledge of another person's experience appears impossible. The implications of these arguments for functionalism are discussed.
S E Palmer
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Behavioral and brain sciences     Volume:  22     ISSN:  0140-525X     ISO Abbreviation:  Behav Brain Sci     Publication Date:  1999 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2001-04-13     Completed Date:  2001-04-26     Revised Date:  2007-11-14    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7808666     Medline TA:  Behav Brain Sci     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  923-43; discussion 944-89     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-1650, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Color Perception*
Discrimination (Psychology)*
Models, Theoretical
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