Colour and morality

Author: keithprosser ,

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No, not a thread about race!

How do I identify a tomato as being a red thing?  It's certainly not a conscious process - tomatoes just look red!   I have a 'colour sense' that tells me what colour objects are.
 
But the colour I see - that vivid, glowy sensation we learn to call the colour red - isn't a property of the tomato.   The tomato is giving out billions of sub-atomic photons which have certain wavelengths and energies but they are not coloured red!

The colour I perceive bears a relation to the wavelengths of the photons, but wavelength and colour are only related - they are not the same thing.  Someone with anomalous colour vision may well have a very diferent perception of a tomato from me, but we would agree on the wavelenghts of the photons involved - for that reason we often say colour is 'subjective' and wavelength is 'objective'.

So lets replace the tomato with a murder.   I perceive it as immoral using my 'moral sense', and that happens as automatically and unthinkingly as when I perceived the tomato as being red.  But - following the analogy - the murder is not objectively immoral just as the tomato was not objectively red.

But I perceived the tomato as red because its photons had certain objective qualities (eg more longer wavelength photons than short ones) - it wasn't completely arbitrary.    Similarly there are objective aspects to a murder that - in an unconscious way - cause me to percieve a murder as something immoral.

I think its clear that just as people can be colour blind, people (such as psychopaths) have a faulty moral sense.

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Some people are more evil that others. But i don't believe psychopaths have NO moral sense. They have it the same as the rest of us. They just choose to ignore it more often.
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It's not my area, but I would guess that psychopaths are perfectly aware what they do is wrong.... they just don't care that it's wrong!

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Yeah, i think youre right.