Physicists Don’t Understand Color




You can demonstrate a subjective quality like redness is different from red light.  If you add a device that converts a red signal into a green one,  between the retina and the optic nerve, the strawberry will seem green.  It’s not about light hitting the retina, it’s about how the signal is processed.  In this case, the greenness must be a quality of our conscious knowledge of  the strawberry, not of the red light landing on the retina. If you use sufficient, well defined terminology, you can objectively communicate the nature of subjective qualities. For example, even though you know what it is like to see something that is red you cannot know that what happens inside my brain is the same as yours. It may be that “My redness is like your greenness, both of which we call red.” The properties of the red light are the same, but the experience the light produces could be different. What we lack is a universal dictionary to define what “redness” is, and how it differs from “red”. This is because physicists can’t yet answer: “Which of all our descriptions of stuff in the brain, including possible descriptions of yet unknown processes, is a description of redness?”  Consciousness isn’t a ‘hard problem’ it is a color problem.  Because if you understand color, that model of computation can extend to the rest of consciousness.


objective consciousness, subjective consciousness, color vs. colorness, colorness, consciousness, hard problem


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...


Anwar Y. Scientists use brain imaging to reveal the movies in our mind. Accessed date: January 10, 2023.

Canonizer a. Canonizer. Accessed date: January 10, 2023.

Canonizer b. Theories of Consciousness.

Accessed date: January 10, 2023.

Canonizer c. Representational-Qualia., Accessed date: January 10, 2023.

Canonizer d. Dennett’s PCB theory. Accessed date: January 10, 2023.

Çelik, E, Keles, U, Kiremitçi, I, Gallant, JL, Çukur, T. Cortical networks of dynamic scene category representation in the human brain. Cortex 2021; 143:127-147.

Dado T, Güçlütürk Y, Ambrogioni L, Ras G, Bosch S, van Gerven M, Güclü U. Hyperrealistic neural decoding for reconstructing faces from fMRI activations via the GAN latent space. Sci Rep 2022; 12:141

Levine, J. Materialism and Qualia: The Explanatory Gap, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 64, 354-361.Nagel, Thomas (1974). What Is It Like to Be a Bat? The Philosophical Review 1983; 83(4): 435-450.

Twentieth Century Studios. Avatar, film, 2009




How to Cite

Allsop, B. (2023). Physicists Don’t Understand Color . Journal of NeuroPhilosophy, 2(1).