Blind? Is it a sphere or cube? Watch

Mullah.S
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i am read this on internet.


A man, who was born blind, can differentiate between a sphere and cube by feeling them.

If the man were made to see (for the first time in his life), would he be able to tell which one was the sphere and which one was the cube just by looking at them?


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Denacio
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yes, surely he could match feel to sight? the sphere would feel smooth and it'd look smooth so...:dontknow:

edit: i'm talking as a person who has always seen, i have no idea what it's like so i could be talking out my behind
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Architecture-er
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Just because someone is blind it doesn't mean they can't tell what a right-angle is?
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Brachioradialis
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Yes. You would remember the feeling of smoothness of the sphere, and the abrupt ends on each side of the cube. By looking, you could see the object which has edges -- the cube.
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The Angry Stoic
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Yes. If you close your eyes and feel two irregular shapes with your eyes closed then open them most people could tell you which shape was which by just looking.

And blind people can be racist.
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Substantia
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This is known as Molyneux's problem. It is quite an interesting question but unlike many philosophical questions this one has an empirical solution. The most likely answer is no.

''In 2003, Pawan Sinha set up a program in India as a part of which he treated five patients, aged from 8 to 17 years, that almost instantly took them from total congenital blindness to fully seeing. This provided an opportunity to answer Molyneux's problem empirically. Based on this study, it was concluded that the answer to Molyneux's question is likely negative. Although after restoration of sight, the subjects could distinguish between objects visually as effectively as they would do by touch alone, they were unable to form the connection between object perceived using the two different senses. The results of the touch-to-vision tests were barely better than if the subjects had guessed. However, such cross-modal mappings developed rapidly, in the course of a few days.''

But there is still more to be learned and the answer perhaps raises even more questions about epistemology.

Source:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/molyneux-problem/#6

http://www.iep.utm.edu/molyneux/
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skumgummi
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People are taking for granted that a blind born person would know what pointy looks like. This is quite an interesting concept actually, there is nothing visual in a blind persons mind. No concept of it, it's not like a blind person just feels something and creates an image in his/her mind. They don't see black, they just don't see at all, nothingness. Creating a visual representation is not possible when visual does not exist.

I think a blind person who gets sight would see the world as we see a surreal painting, it's just confusing and you're not really sure what you're looking at
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Brachioradialis
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On another related note, if someone was born deaf and their hearing was restored, could they distinguish between high and low pitch?
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Substantia
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(Original post by Architecture-er)
Just because someone is blind it doesn't mean they can't tell what a right-angle is :lol:
Well they could tell what a right angle feels like, but they have no way of knowing what one would look like. They have no concept of vision.

Imagine that you were deaf, you would know what a train looks like but have no idea what it would sound like. Therefore if your hearing was restored you would have no way of matching the sound of a train/mouse/wind/sea to that of a train as you are unfamiliar with sounds of any type. The same principle applies with visual loss.
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Bobifier
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They did this experiment and found that people couldn't make the connection without being able to feel the objects.
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Architecture-er
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(Original post by Substantia)
Well they could tell what a right angle feels like, but they have no way of knowing what one would look like.

Imagine that you were deaf, you would know what a train looks like but have no idea what it would sound like. Therefore if your hearing was restored you would have no way of matching the sound of a mouse to that of a train as you are unfamiliar with sounds of any type. The same principle applies with visual loss.
I would disagree, your example is completely unrelated..

If they're shown two objects after they've felt them, and one is featureless (sphere) and the other has a noticeable change in direction on its surface, then I think they could imagine what it'd feel like to be holding those objects and infer from that.


You can't 'see' a train's sound by looking at it, but you can see angles by looking at a shape
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Pastaferian
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(Original post by Mullah.S)
i am read this on internet.
A man, who was born blind, can differentiate between a sphere and cube by feeling them.
If the man were made to see (for the first time in his life), would he be able to tell which one was the sphere and which one was the cube just by looking at them?
Discuss
He would be able to tell they were different, and if he had registered the essential difference between them (cubes have straight edges and corners, spheres don't) then he would be able to name them.

However, it's very unlikely for an adult to be blind from birth and then be made to see. Experiments on kittens (which I don't approve of) suggest that the visual cortex does not develop properly unless stimulated at a very early age.
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pane123
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(Original post by Pastaferian)
However, it's very unlikely for an adult to be blind from birth and then be made to see.
Thanks, that's very helpful.
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Architecture-er
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(Original post by pane123)
Thanks, that's very helpful.
More helpful than your comment
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pane123
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(Original post by Architecture-er)
More helpful than your comment
For the purpose of this thread, we assume that it is possible to make a blind person see. Obviously.

Is that more helpful?
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pjm600
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(Original post by MattKneale)
On another related note, if someone was born deaf and their hearing was restored, could they distinguish between high and low pitch?
This isn't similar to the posed question as the deaf person would have no experience of the two tones beforehand.

To make a valid comparison between that and this experiment, you could ask if a blind person was made able to see a sphere and cube without touching them beforehand. Would the person be able to differentiate between the two? Probably as they have different characteristics.

So two do high and low pitched tones. In this case the subject is solely using their sense of hearing, not having to connect an old and new sense.
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Freier._.lance
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The answer is clearly no. People are forgetting, that a blind person has never seen, and so they have no concept of how to match sight with touch sensations.
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Architecture-er
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(Original post by pane123)
For the purpose of this thread, we assume that it is possible to make a blind person see. Obviously.

Is that more helpful?
I can already tell from the thread's first post that it's based on making a blind person see, I don't need you to tell me that :confused:
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Pastaferian
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(Original post by Freier._.lance)
The answer is clearly no. People are forgetting, that a blind person has never seen, and so they have no concept of how to match sight with touch sensations.
But blind people have spatial awareness. Using touch alone, they are able to differentiate between, say, big and small, flat and solid, thin and wide, etc, and they can understand those concepts in spacial terms. I don't see why they wouldn't be able to differentiate spheres and cubes. IMO, the real issue in this problem is whether the hypothetical subject's visual processing apparatus would allow him/her to convert information received by the retina into an understanding of his/her physical surroundings. Experiments on kittens say they can't, but if you wave a magic wand and assume they can, then the problem is solved. But if you wave a magic wand, any problem can be solved - that is the ultimate problem with artificial questions like this.
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pane123
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(Original post by Architecture-er)
I can already tell from the thread's first post that it's based on making a blind person see, I don't need you to tell me that :confused:
Then we don't need to be told that it's unlikely to happen, either.
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