Experimenting with Adelson’s Checkerboard Illusion

Can you change how things seem? Phenomenological slideshow test below! Scroll past all the text if you must!

Edward H. Adelson‘s (1995) Checkerboard Illusion, or “Checkershadow Illusion“, remains one of the best lessons on how deceptive our perceptions can be, and it affords a great opportunity for phenomenological experimentation, which I promote with a slideshow below. Above is an inspired variation on Adelson’s original by a digital artist who goes by butisit at DeviantArt.

If you have never seen Adelson’s original image before, look at it now (here below), and ask yourself, “Is the parallelogram region of this image labeled A darker than the parallelogram region labeled B?” If your answer is Yes, you are incorrect. If you insist, if you claim that region A is obviously darker than region B, you are still incorrect. If you think this means merely that A is not as much darker than B as it seems to be, then you are nevertheless incorrect. Regions A and B are the same exact shade. Continue reading “Experimenting with Adelson’s Checkerboard Illusion”

The Wada Test for Philosophers: What is it like to be a proper part of your own brain losing and regaining other proper parts of your brain?

Evidently, good answers to this question are not confined to the wilds of science fiction and thought experiment. In fact, I think there are actually people with a pretty good idea: patients of the Wada test. These are people who have had their brain hemispheres anesthetized one at a time so that the rest of the brain—the complementary other hemisphere and the subcortical regions—remains functioning in some ways, and by all accounts conscious. Some of these patients report on their conscious experiences afterward, for example, describing what it is like to have one’s language dominant hemisphere temporarily shut down, finding oneself at a complete—albeit only temporary—loss of words. Continue reading “The Wada Test for Philosophers: What is it like to be a proper part of your own brain losing and regaining other proper parts of your brain?”