How important are our sense?

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Cutie_Pie
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Are your 5 senses the source of our knowledge and how reliable are they?
Are they the only source of our knowledge? and if not how do we learn/ gain knowledge?
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username987102
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Well there's a lot of debate about how a lot of our knowledge is innate, we know it from birth. Different people have took different interpretations of that, for example I think Leibniz (may be wrong) said that we have all that knowledge, we just need to have certain experienced to allow that knowledge to come to light, he uses the marble analogy to demonstrate that. For me, i think it's a mix between senses and innate knowledge. Senses aren't always reliable, like for example when we see illusions but we know they're illusions so our reality isn't really distorted. Knowledge of things such as colour is gained through senses but knowledge of hunger etc is innate. Sorry I can't give you better examples, it's too early in the morning for me!
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IsisInDarkness
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I believe senses are incredibly important; can you think of any activity you do during an average day that doesn't rely on the senses in some way? I think I agree with Hume here that the senses are the source of the vast majority if not all knowledge. Faculties like reason and imagination can be used to develop ideas but I would be sceptical about whether these ideas constitute proper 'knowledge'. Also, I would argue that these faculties still ultimately rely on the senses as we reason and imagine based on things we have experienced. For example, if I was to imagine a blue cat I would be doing so based on my prior sensory experiences of what a cat looks like and what the colour blue looks like.

For a sort of thought experiment, can you imagine what a human being born without any senses would think about? Personally I can't.

(Original post by bobbieare)
Knowledge of things such as colour is gained through senses but knowledge of hunger etc is innate. Sorry I can't give you better examples, it's too early in the morning for me!
I have to ask isn't knowledge of being hungry gained through our ability to sense​ our hunger?
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username987102
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(Original post by IsisInDarkness)


I have to ask isn't knowledge of being hungry gained through our ability to sense​ our hunger?
yup, i just can't find a better example, it's been a long time since i studied philosophy but you can argue either way i think. I think everyone has an innate ability to sense their hunger
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Martyn*
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The nose is a very powerful instrument. It can detect a lot of things that the other organs cannot. It is probably the most perfect sensory organ in the human body.
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cascadingstylez
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But can we trust them?
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Meehsa
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(Original post by cascadingstylez)
But can we trust them?
You can trust them but they cannot force your mind into talking decision. You may want to sleep, your eyes need rest but the brain should dictate terms and motivate your eyes to stay up and running.
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cascadingstylez
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Interesting. But, what about people who see things? They seem to trust them when their senses are deceiving them.
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Picnic1
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Senses are important for survival and to know the true nature of the environment that you are in.

But if you happen to live in a terrible environment for your tastes (and little inclination / ability to do anything about your environment) then it might be better to have fewer senses (or none at all as might be argued by someone who is depressed).

Einstein who has gone on to lose all of his senses is still Einstein which must intrinsically be worth something. It's not good enough to say 'well, we've got already his books anyway'. That would be unfeeling and disrespectful.

Whilst having a full complement of the 5 senses is not the be all and end all (as Stevie Wonder might attest) it is still not nice to regard someone as being defined by their lack of having certain senses. Their remaining senses - and more importantly their human attributes - might be higher in some cases.
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John Stuart Mill
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(Original post by cascadingstylez)
Interesting. But, what about people who see things? They seem to trust them when their senses are deceiving them.
Indeed, and optical illusions show how easily our senses can be decieved, I remember reading about the history of science and the Aristotleans doubted that what was being seen through the telescope was actually real, they thought it may simply be an illusion or something completely different, experimentation however showed the results to be consistent, and this is the point of science is it not? Science tells us human beings alone aren't prophets and our descriptions of phenomena need constant interpretation by as many people as possible. Another question is this: 'If we can't trust our sensory datum, can we trust reason'? Surely not as reason is apt to decieve just as easily.
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