Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Obviousness Curve

One half-baked idea bobbing in the back of my head is a fuzzily defined notion of an "Obviousness Curve." The basic idea is one of knowledge progressing to a point of peak obviousness; once knowledge increases beyond this point, obviousness declines.

For example, there's a point in every childhood where one is oblivious to the names of colors. With a little education, one learns to recognize red, yellow, blue, etc. At some point, one becomes quite confident in the associations between words and phenomena--so much so that one might ask what fool couldn't recognize the pillow as yellow.

But as one continues to acquire knowledge and learns of spectral power distributions, spectral reflectance, spectral response curves, metamerism, etc., the question of a yellow pillow is much less obvious, and an aswer requires a much more elaborate explanation.

So it is with many things.

( If I've mentioned this before, forgive me--it's been the subject of at least one deleted draft.)


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