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Anaxagorean Sensations

Anaxagorean sensations are simple, common and unmistakable. They are usually noticed in opposing pairs. We name them after the ancient Greek philosopher Anaxagoras of Clazomenae because he started linking them to European physics. To be exact, we say that a sensation is Anaxagorean if \delta = \pm 1 for just one, and only one, of the binary characteristics noted by \delta_{\mathit{e}} \delta_{\mathit{m}} \delta_{\mathit{w}} \delta_{\tau} \delta_{\mathit{T}} \delta_{\mathit{H}} \delta_{\mathit{I}} \delta_{\mathit{S}} and \delta^{*}. These simple, clear-cut perceptions are shown in the table below, along with an associated icon.

Anaxagorean SensationsIcon
visualachromaticwhite
black
inorganicyellow
blue
organicgreen
red
thermaldangerousburning
freezing
safecool
warm
somaticright
left
tastesourtart
soapy
saltybrackish
potable
sweetsugary
savory

The numerical values of \delta depend on making binary descriptions of sensory experience. So sensations that are complex or ambiguous cannot satisfy this definition, even if they are common and important. For example, the color orange is not unmistakably red or yellow, so it is not Anaxagorean. A sensation must be perfectly distinct to be Anaxagorean. The descriptive method of EthnoPhysics is based on mathematical sets of sensations. Arithmetic and algebra are also based on set-theory. And the founder of set-theory Georg Cantor says that a set is “a collection into a whole, of definite, well-distinguished objects.”1E. Kamke, Theory of Sets, translated by Frederick Bagemihl, page1. Dover Publications, New York, 1950. Or in another translation as, “definite and separate objects.”2Georg Cantor, Contributions to the Founding of the Theory of Transfinite Numbers, translated by Philip E. B. Jourdain, page 85. The Open Court Publishing Company, La Salle Illinois, 1941. Moreover, distinguishability is required3Wolfgang Pauli, General Principles of Quantum Mechanics, translated by P. Achuthan and K. Venkatesan, page 117 and 123. Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg 1980. to develop Pauli’s exclusion principle.

Anaxagorean sensations are like these painted building-blocks.

Anaxagorean sensations are building-blocks we can use to describe more complicated sensations. They must be distinct so that we can accurately count them, use mathematics to analyze the results, and thereby scientifically describe events.

1 E. Kamke, Theory of Sets, translated by Frederick Bagemihl, page1. Dover Publications, New York, 1950.
2 Georg Cantor, Contributions to the Founding of the Theory of Transfinite Numbers, translated by Philip E. B. Jourdain, page 85. The Open Court Publishing Company, La Salle Illinois, 1941.
3 Wolfgang Pauli, General Principles of Quantum Mechanics, translated by P. Achuthan and K. Venkatesan, page 117 and 123. Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg 1980.