PHILOSOPHY 21O: CRITICAL THINKING
Instructor: Dr. Keith Langner
Can we really trust our senses and the interpretation of sensory data to give us an accurate view of the world? It’s a topic that remains open for debate. In order to come up with an answer I will need to take a closer look into the accuracy and weaknesses of the human senses as they pertain to thinking in general and to my own thinking in particular. There are several reasons for believing in the accuracy of sensory information, which I will disclose with you. Also, I shall identify and describe at least three factors that contribute to the ...view middle of the document...
We rely on these senses to provide our brain with information that’s necessary in order to help form how we perceive and interact with people and other things. This leads me to the second reason for believing in the accuracy of our sensory information, which is the brain itself. The brain is what integrates our senses. Our senses are often required to work together, and the brain is what makes that possible. “The brain is incredibly complex and has the potential to handle huge thinking demands. It contains more than one trillion cells, about a hundred billion of which are neurons” (Kirby & Goodpaster, 2007). The way we think and our movement activities are dictated by these neurons. The input that comes from our senses enters the brain by sensory neurons, and then output comes from the brain by motor neurons. “Sensory integration is the systems’ process of taking in and organizing billions of bits of uncoordinated sensory input. These are organized into cohesive whole pictures that enable the brain to know what is happening” (Berger, 2002). Our senses often work together when transmitting information to our brain. During sensory integration, the sensory information is sorted, logged, and assigned in a prioritized order so that an efficient response is delivered. “These activities often involve the whole brain, old and new” (Berger, 2002). Lastly, it’s very hard to go against what our senses lead us to believe as being true. Through our senses, the brain forms a perception that is unique to yourself, or that of which “you” believe as being true. Suppose there’s a car that two people are looking at. One person thinks the car is burgundy, and the other person thinks the color of the car is closer to red. Both individuals have two separate perceptions on the color of the car. You really can’t say one person is more accurate than the other, because to them they are only going off of what their senses, such as eye sight, are convincing them to be true.
Next, we will take a look at some of the factors that contribute to the accuracy of sensory data. “Sense data are the alleged mind-dependent objects that we are directly aware of in perception, and that have exactly the properties they appear to have” (Huemer, 2011). Awareness through perception, dependency on the mind, and by sensory data possessing properties that perceptually appear to us is three factors that contribute to the accuracy of sensory data. “Everyone in the philosophy of perception agrees that perception makes us aware of something. Most hold that there is a distinction between things perception makes us directly aware of, and the things it makes us indirectly aware of, where to be indirectly aware of something is, roughly, to be aware of it in a way that depends on the awareness of something else” (Huemer, 2011). Furthermore, nothing in life can exist unperceived. The things we are directly aware of in perception depend on our mind to form ideas,...