To what extent can we trust our senses?

Páginas: 6 (1319 palabras) Publicado: 4 de noviembre de 2010
The aim of this essay is to determine whether we can trust our senses or if we cannot. Sense perception is based on a three fold processes: first our senses receptors are stimulated by sensory information; then our brain makes an interpretation of these stimuli, we interpretate the information; and finally we provide a meaning to the stimulation and react. Some of our ways of gaining knowledgeare through sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. To accomplish this essay I will ascertain if it is correct to trust our senses by providing arguments for and against.

On the one hand, when humans capture stimuli our senses have limited range. This problem increases disbelief on senses. As John Locke once said: “We are building our knowledge from a limited range of all the sensorypossibility of the species on the planet.” It is unthinkable for a person to sense all the stimuli the world has to offer. Our perception of the world is a result of the limited amount of data we were able to catch. In “filosofia” we read: Una Invitacion a Pensar by Jaime Barylko. The first thing he writes about is how our mind tricks our senses, in this case our eyes, by using his interpretation andseeing something else then what is really there. There was a man walking in a desert and sees a blurry vision which he interprets as a house but as he gets closer he then realized that it was actually a tractor. This man has a limited range of sight to capture stimuli, since it is humanly impossible for a men to see clearly too far away. Also we can see variability here since an eagle, which has adifferent rang of sight, could have easily recognized that it was a tractor from the first place. By this we can say that senses should not be trusted because of its limited range.
Moreover, the world provides a humongous amount of stimuli that our senses aren’t able to manage at the same time. Human brains use selectivity since they are unable to process all the information they receive. Theknowledge we gain through our senses are less objective. Unconsciously we are constantly ignoring many stimuli. What we perceive is not only affected by what is actually there but also by what we are biologically, culturally and personally. For example, if we ask a person from Germany and another one from Great Britain to make a movie about the First War World they will each have a very differentvideo. This will happen since each person would focus on different ideas and events, according to the countries they represent. For this reasons we can’t trust our senses.
Therefore, variability can also be considered as a limitation of our senses. This is presented from individual to individual; usually it is seen as an abnormality. A case of variability from species to species is the way humanssee a tree as a primary material, where they can extract wood to build let’s say a table. Meanwhile a squirrel may look at the same tree and get the impression of shelter. An example for variability, within the same species, is the way a color blind person sees a rainbow in comparison to a person that is not. For this reasons it can be said that senses are not trustworthy.
Consequently, we can’ttrust our senses because the interpretation process can go wrong. The interpretation process begins when the sensory information captured travels to our brain. Very often in this process the information received is changed.” Experts claim that our resulting sensations are being integrated, compared and contrasted with everything we’ve perceived before.” As a result, what is interpretated is oftenvery different to what is the reality. Perception free of interpretation is humanly impossible (we can’t capture stimuli without interpretation). Some perceptions are illusions. The brain interprets our stimuli, for these reasons we many times see things that are not there. In “comunicación” we were reading about signs. Charles Sanders Pierce created a model on signs. He established that the...
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