“How do you know that what I see as red is what you see as red?”
This familiar question asks one of most fundamental philosophical questions about perception. We all know that red is a colour, but what is a colour and can we be sure that everyone sees the same colours? The short answers is no. This is primarily for two reasons, firstly the experience of colour is a perception and not a pure experience, an experience that John Locke, the famous Empiricist philosopher, describes as a secondary experience, opposed to the primary experiences of sense like touch. Secondarily, and quite simply, some of us are colourblind. This raises the intriguing, puzzling (and grammatically complex) notion that a colourblind subject can see both red and green as the same colour as you see red.
This essay will be divided into two sections. The first section is a historical and factual report dealing with the history of colour perception through the last two hundred years. This will be related to the quasi science and phenomenological arts practise of Phil Lambert and a discussion on objective and subjective experience in Empiricist philosophy. In doing this the report will consider some of the neurological and psychological advances that have been made in terms of understanding perception and how these relate to a Kantian understanding of Aesthetics.
The second part will leap beyond the specifics of colour perception to explore the nature of aesthetics in Kant, Deleuze and Whitehead, before suggesting that these philosophies could potentially dovetail with Memetic theory, as originated by Professor Richard Dawkins and elaborated on by Susan Blackmore, both proponents of Universal Darwinism. This suggests a seductive universal theory centered on Aesthetic transformations happening through the media of human brains, rather than as a consequence of human thought or consciousness. This suggests a new framework, through which to view issues such as authorship, freewill, consciousness and creativity.