Do colors exist outside the brain?
Not really. A "color" is what we call a categorization within our conditioned brain of a particular combination of not just wavelength, but saturation and hue. Color is not really "out there." But the different wavelengths of light are really "out there."Am I just playing with semantics?
No. Different cultures with their languages arrange what we call colors differently than English speakers. Russian speakers make the same red / pink and orange / brown distinctions as we would. But they will also make a further distinction between sinii and goluboi, which English speakers would simply call dark and light blue. To Russian speakers, these "colors" are as separate as red and pink, or orange and brown are to us. In Mandarin and Japanese, what we call "green" is considered a type of Blue!
What we see "out there" is not really what is there. It is the projection of our brain's sensory processing onto the world before us. Of course, what we see is a pretty good facsimile of the Real World. If it were not, it would impede our ability to survive and pass on our genes.
_Written by J. Trevor Woodhams, M.D. - Chief of Surgery, Woodhams Eye Clinic