What are the strengths and weaknesses of sensual perception?
By Sinéad Rawson
For knowledge we heavily rely on what we perceive from our senses, as they provide first-hand experiences, giving us “primary evidence” on surroundings and situations. However human’s five senses touch, taste, sight, sound and smell also have their limitations, so therefore they each have weaknesses to the amount or accuracy of knowledge they can give.
Starting from the sense of sight, a popular expression is “seeing is believing” as we depend on this sense to confirm reality. However beliefs from sight vary from person to person as we perceive things differently. An example of this would be the fact there was a time when people believed the earth was flat, as that was how it “appeared” as people could see the distant horizon as a straight line, it was only when the few who thought otherwise went forth to prove against this knowledge that they were able to open new vistas of reality through their vision.
Another expression, “a picture is worth 1000 words” implies how sight is a more honest, simpler but larger way of giving across knowledge, although what also must be taken into consideration is how it may not present the same conclusion to everyone. As the “words” or messages we take from sight are influenced by our interpretations, whether we view a picture literally or look more deeply for something more metaphorical or emotive, proven in pictures of propaganda, where images are used to sway or indoctrinate the masses through their sense of sight.
As with sight, we cannot always trust that all will be as it appears, as images can be manipulated thanks to advances in digital technology and how we can deceive our mind through visual tricks such as those demonstrated through Optical Illusions, where depth, shape of lines/pictures can be difficult to interpret.
Although sight also has it strengths, for example going as far back as the early times in human existence where we...
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