Pinker than Red (was Re: Searle)

Damien Broderick (
Wed, 11 Feb 1998 11:45:42 +0000

At 05:20 PM 2/10/98 -0700, Brent wrote:
>People think that red is something out beyond our eyes, some quality
>of light or something. Therefore, they don't realize how real it is,
>how important it is, and how our conscious/intelligent worlds are
>built out of this real subjective physical phenomenon.

Naive people do, but people with a clue *don't* think that `red is
something out beyond our eyes, some quality of light or something.' It's
*obviously* a construct. A nice simple discussion of the proof for this is
in Steve Pinker's charming new book HOW THE MIND WORKS. Or you could read
Land (old) or Zeki (current). Our experience of colour constancy is a
ceaseless collaboration between conflicting signals from outside the body
and `best guess' (and therefore fallible) evolved inferential algorithms on
the inside. So qualia are real - that's just the word we use to label
experience - but are not (and *cannot* be) indefeasible entities, which I
assume is Brent's claim.

Damien Broderick (not seeing red; quite calm actually)