Theory of Knowledge

Topics: Perception, Sense, Human Pages: 8 (2954 words) Published: June 28, 2010
Nature of sense perception
Q1A) In what ways does the biological constitution of a living organism determine, influence or limit its sense perception? B) If humans are sensitive only to certain ranges of stimuli, what consequences or limitations might this have for the acquisition of knowledge? Ans-A- The biological constitution of a living organism has a mammoth influence on the sense perception of an organism. The biological institution of an organism can even enhance or degrade the level, degree and method of sense perception by an organism. Take the Homo sapiens or rather humans for example the relatively strong eyesight causes the overdependence on eyesight and eyes and the other senses are therefore held in less importance and dependence. But in the case of a blind human the other senses sharpen (sense of smell, hearing, touch and taste). Another example one can take is a nocturnal animal such as the owl. The owl has eyes as well but the eyes of an owl are far different from that of a human. They can see far more clearly in the night which causes the owl to be crepuscular the main activities of living in the darker hours rather than the day. Plus owls have an impressive sense of hearing which help them in their day to day activities. Imagine if owls did not have different eyes would they still be crepuscular? I definitely don’t think so, wouldn’t this alter the way the general owl lives, and they’d probably change from being hunters of the night to being hunters of the day. Imagine a polar bear without fur; could the polar bear survive in the harsh climate of the arctic?? The fur is fundamentally a means of the polar bear to retain heat and not freeze in the deadly climate of the arctic. Without this biological externality wouldn’t the polar bear feel a lot colder perhaps would change or alter the polar bear’s sense of touch not just because of the effect of the cold but because without the fur the skin of the polar bear will be in direct contact with outside stimuli.

Ans-B- Again I would have to say this would have enormous consequences (though human beings are already limited in the ranges of stimuli for example humans can only hear to a certain amplitude of sound and a bar minimum as well of amplitude) if the range of stimuli to be perceived is even narrower than it already is . The limitation would be immense, an impressive amount of scientific discoveries and other discoveries are from the perception of certain stimuli. Imagine what would occur if Isaac Newton never perceived or saw the apple which fell from the tree that incidentally happened to be the inspiration of his Theory of Gravitation. If perhaps humans didn’t have the ability to see underwater (though that is already limited) would the already sparse information about aquatic life be even scarcer then it already is? Q2) What possibilities for knowledge are opened to us by our senses as they are? What limitations? Ans- That depends from person to person as well as species to species. In the case of the human being I believe an enormous amount of knowledge is opened to us by our senses but though the bulk of the knowledge is not perceived/noticed or rather assimilated into the consciousness of an individual. With ones ability to taste a lot of edible food can be identifiable as well as knowledge in the art of cooking. Or even think about an individual human beings ability to see through ones eyes, (in color!!) an endless amount of things can be seen by those eyes. A tremendous level of discoveries has occurred solely because that very pair of eyes. But the eyes also cause an individual to become adjusted and unaware of ones surroundings-meaning for instance if one enters a new school the first few days that individual may be totally absorbed, awe and interested in her/his surroundings. But after a month or time the student becomes dull towards his/her surroundings (the school) the familiarity by sight sets in. So the student may become...
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