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How do you describe colour to a blind person?How do you describe colour to a blind person?

(2:40) Tommy Edison, blind since birth, talks about colour and how he has no inkling of what it is.

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Guest: joey london (502 days ago)
i feel so sorry for him and so privelaged to be able to see
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i feel so sorry for him and so privelaged to be able to see
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MissAlanius MissAlanius (499 days ago)
Maybe colour could be compared to sound. The timbre (character of the sound) would be the colour. So a traditional flute might be yellow, a raw and raspy flute might be yellowy beige, the colour of unhealthy shit. The pitch would be the tone, so a piano playing a high A might be pink, a low G might be burnt umber, and middle C, Ferrari red.
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Maybe colour could be compared to sound. The timbre (character of the sound) would be the colour. So a traditional flute might be yellow, a raw and raspy flute might be yellowy beige, the colour of unhealthy shit. The pitch would be the tone, so a piano playing a high A might be pink, a low G might be burnt umber, and middle C, Ferrari red.
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glortman glortman (498 days ago)
People who have synaesthesia (a blending of two senses) make this type of association between colour and sound, but the links are particular to each perceiver, so the mapping you suggest might work for some but not others. We all use such associations to a certain extent when we say a musical note is "high" (which is a spatial word, not a sound word). The difficulty of your suggestion is that it would require any given blind person to make an association between a sound and a colour, which still won't help them with the "raw feel" of seeing a colour. On a more speculative note, how would you deal with octaves?
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People who have synaesthesia (a blending of two senses) make this type of association between colour and sound, but the links are particular to each perceiver, so the mapping you suggest might work for some but not others. We all use such associations to a certain extent when we say a musical note is "high" (which is a spatial word, not a sound word). The difficulty of your suggestion is that it would require any given blind person to make an association between a sound and a colour, which still won't help them with the "raw feel" of seeing a colour. On a more speculative note, how would you deal with octaves?
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Guest: phaxl (499 days ago)
Try to imagine a brand new colour not related to any existing one.
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Try to imagine a brand new colour not related to any existing one.
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Blong Blong (498 days ago)
I tried that. Thought I succeeded until I realised it was quite similar to pea soup with a tinge of pink.
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I tried that. Thought I succeeded until I realised it was quite similar to pea soup with a tinge of pink.
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Guest: Max (62 days ago)
Latest comment:

Some musicians and composers have a form of synesthesia that allows them to "see" music as colors or shapes. This is called chromethesia. Mozart is said to have had this form of synesthesia. He said that the key of D major had a warm "orangey" sound to it, while B-flat minor was blackish. A major was a rainbow of colors to him. This may explain why he wrote some of his music using different colors for different music notes, and why much of his music is in major keys.

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Latest comment:

Some musicians and composers have a form of synesthesia that allows them to "see" music as colors or shapes. This is called chromethesia. Mozart is said to have had this form of synesthesia. He said that the key of D major had a warm "orangey" sound to it, while B-flat minor was blackish. A major was a rainbow of colors to him. This may explain why he wrote some of his music using different colors for different music notes, and why much of his music is in major keys.

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Guest: black man (499 days ago)
easy, see what you are seeing now, No. well, that's black. end game
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easy, see what you are seeing now, No. well, that's black. end game
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glortman glortman (499 days ago)
This is the 'qualia' problem, and isn't restricted to blind people. Each person's subjective experience of a raw sensory phenomenon can't really be described to anyone else. Try to describe a colour to someone without using a simile or a comparison to an existing object ('green like grass', for example). It is not possible. There are lots of fascinating implications for philosophy and neuroscience.
Original comment
This is the 'qualia' problem, and isn't restricted to blind people. Each person's subjective experience of a raw sensory phenomenon can't really be described to anyone else. Try to describe a colour to someone without using a simile or a comparison to an existing object ('green like grass', for example). It is not possible. There are lots of fascinating implications for philosophy and neuroscience.
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