Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Inverted Spectra, Philosophy of Mind: A term used to describe a thought experiment showing that we cannot be sure that stimuli (here light wavelengths) will be translated into similar mental states by all subjects. It is possible that a color is not localized at the same place on the color spectrum for all subjects, e.g. in an extreme case one may see something as red which another person considers to be green. Since the use of language is based on both having learned public language, they would use the same word despite their differing subjective experience. See also knowledge how, private language, qualia, skepticism.

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Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

 
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W. Poundstone on Inverted Spectra - Dictionary of Arguments

I 81
Grue/bleen/grue/Goodman/Poundstone: Dictionary German-grue/bleen and grue/bleen-German are symmetrical - the colors can be mutually and confused defined - the question of which formulation is more original is like the question on chicken and egg. - Solution: we must find an aspect under which the situation is not symmetric. - Poundstone: the exchange could already have taken place between Cleopatra and King Henry. - Problem: we would not know it, because we do not know what adjectives they used back then.
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I 93
Facetious solution: on the day of decision (time t) the grue/bleen speakers awake and realize that the color of the (still blue) sky has changed from grue to bleen.
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I 84
Inverted spectra/Poundstone: not detectable - the only reason for believing we could - it is allegedly correlation with mental states - but these may have changed as well - all present and past experience is compatible with change.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Poundstone I
William Poundstone
Labyrinths of Reason, NY, 1988
German Edition:
Im Labyrinth des Denkens Hamburg 1995


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-08-05
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