View Poll Results: Is a rainbow a physical object?

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Thread: Is a rainbow a physical object?

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    Industrial Grade Linguist Copernicus's Avatar
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    Is a rainbow a physical object?

    This is not a trick question. Would you call a rainbow a "physical object"? If not, why not? What is the difference between a rainbow and what you would describe as a physical object? Just to make this really interesting, I'm going to allow the option of a contradictory answer to the main question.

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    A rainbow is an experience.

    Color is an experience and nothing else.

    The stimulus for a brain to create a color is out in the world, not the color itself.

    Color is an evolved arbitrary response to a stimulus.

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    Rainbows are physical phenomena. A physical "object" is a useful abstraction for living our day to day lives that more or less maps onto "some solid-state grouping of matter that is more defined by its function than its composition".

    So, just like "species" or "reptiles", it is a useful abstraction that maybe doesn't rigoursly map into reality all the time.

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    You mean the stimulus for a rainbow is a physical phenomena.

    The external world does not have colors.

    Colors are something that have evolved.

    First you have the world then you have the subjective with colors.

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    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Of course it is. It's made out of photons.

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    Industrial Grade Linguist Copernicus's Avatar
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    There can be no question that we are made aware of a rainbow's existence through visual perception, but that is also a means by which we can be made aware of a table or a chicken. Those things clearly are physical objects. However, those objects exist whether we look at them or not. If we go away and come back later, they are still there. One could say that they exist independently of the act of perception. However, can we say the same about a rainbow? We can certainly take a photograph of physical objects, and we can also take one of a rainbow.

    So, is a rainbow a physical object or not?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    This is not a trick question. Would you call a rainbow a "physical object"? If not, why not? What is the difference between a rainbow and what you would describe as a physical object? Just to make this really interesting, I'm going to allow the option of a contradictory answer to the main question.
    This gets at a deeper issue regarding reification so I answered yes and no. The question doesn't have an objective answer that doesn't depend on the relative model used.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    There can be no question that we are made aware of a rainbow's existence through visual perception, but that is also a means by which we can be made aware of a table or a chicken. Those things clearly are physical objects. However, those objects exist whether we look at them or not. If we go away and come back later, they are still there. One could say that they exist independently of the act of perception. However, can we say the same about a rainbow? We can certainly take a photograph of physical objects, and we can also take one of a rainbow.

    So, is a rainbow a physical object or not?
    But without color is there a picture of a rainbow?

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    Industrial Grade Linguist Copernicus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J842P View Post
    Rainbows are physical phenomena. A physical "object" is a useful abstraction for living our day to day lives that more or less maps onto "some solid-state grouping of matter that is more defined by its function than its composition".

    So, just like "species" or "reptiles", it is a useful abstraction that maybe doesn't rigoursly map into reality all the time.
    Can you name something that rigorously maps into reality all the time? Or something that is not an abstraction of some kind? Or a physical object that is not also a physical phenomenon? A book certainly exists when nobody is reading it or looking at it. Does a rainbow?

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    Industrial Grade Linguist Copernicus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BWE View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    This is not a trick question. Would you call a rainbow a "physical object"? If not, why not? What is the difference between a rainbow and what you would describe as a physical object? Just to make this really interesting, I'm going to allow the option of a contradictory answer to the main question.
    This gets at a deeper issue regarding reification so I answered yes and no. The question doesn't have an objective answer that doesn't depend on the relative model used.
    I anticipated your response, and that is why I allowed for the contradictory answer. However, that leads me to ask whether you would give the same answer for every object that you would describe as a physical object.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by untermensche View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    There can be no question that we are made aware of a rainbow's existence through visual perception, but that is also a means by which we can be made aware of a table or a chicken. Those things clearly are physical objects. However, those objects exist whether we look at them or not. If we go away and come back later, they are still there. One could say that they exist independently of the act of perception. However, can we say the same about a rainbow? We can certainly take a photograph of physical objects, and we can also take one of a rainbow.

    So, is a rainbow a physical object or not?
    But without color is there a picture of a rainbow?
    I neglected to tell you that I was using black and white film. Sorry.

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