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    This is something which intrigues me greatly. In my opinion, if you were born without all five senses, you wouldn't know that you are alive. Without prior experience of sight, hearing etc. you wouldn't be able to have any thoughts or images in your mind.
    I would like to know your opinions on this subject.
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    Indeed, a very interesting question which will only reap speculation, me thinks. Just look at the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. If you haven't got ears then you can't learn a language. Do we need a language to be sentient? Hmm. Animals seem to cope, I suppose. But what do they think in..?

    I doubt you would know that you were alive. I guess that you'd merely be in an unconscious state. You'd still be breathing, but you wouldn't be able to see/hear/feel/smell/taste anything. If you have no stimuli to react to, then you won't react. You'd merely be in a sleepy state, in my opinion.

    However it is a curious little question you've got there.
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    Good question. I think you wouldn't know you are alive. I mean if you couldn't see, hear, smell, taste or touch, what would you do. You would just be able to sit and move. You wouldn't be able to think because you couldn't picture things or words. So you would be like a new born baby. But your brain would still work but would be unable to do anything. I think that would be awful - but at least if it was from birth, you wouldnt know what you were missing.
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    This is a random thread! lol...my guess would be probably not!
    If you didnt have the five senses, then you wouldnt be able to know you were alive...seeing, hearing, smelling etc..it would be like being dead!
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    Would your brain be able to work? The brain doesn't pop out of the womb fully functioning and developed - what it is about the brain that allows us to have 'minds' in the fully-fledged adult sense is a neural complexity that develops over time in response to stimuli. I don't know what happens if you take away the stimuli, but it probably wont be anything like the development of a mind.

    A perhaps more interesting question would be that of someone who (very unfortunately) went blind, deaf, and lost his smell, touch, and taste. Don't they say that in artifically imposed similiar conditions (flotation tanks etc.) people start to just hallucinate entire worlds and narratives? I don't know. But anyway, this is (basically, more or less) the starting point from which Descartes relaunched philosophy. He said that after all these subtractions you're left with your own thought, and thus the inescapable reality of your own existence. Therefore we are in essence thinking things, and our being-in-the-world (our perceptive doings) is something external to our own true selves. I think this is a mistake, but there you go.
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    (Original post by Iago)
    Would your brain be able to work? The brain doesn't pop out of the womb fully functioning and developed - what it is about the brain that allows us to have 'minds' in the fully-fledged adult sense is a neural complexity that develops over time in response to stimuli. I don't know what happens if you take away the stimuli, but it probably wont be anything like the development of a mind.

    A perhaps more interesting question would be that of someone who (very unfortunately) went blind, deaf, and lost his smell, touch, and taste. Don't they say that in artifically imposed similiar conditions (flotation tanks etc.) people start to just hallucinate entire worlds and narratives? I don't know. But anyway, this is (basically, more or less) the starting point from which Descartes relaunched philosophy. He said that after all these subtractions you're left with your own thought, and thus the inescapable reality of your own existence. Therefore we are in essence thinking things, and our being-in-the-world (our perceptive doings) is something external to our own true selves. I think this is a mistake, but there you go.
    I disagree.

    Des' "I think therefore I am" sums up the idea that because you can develop conscious thought, you exist. The question the OP presented was if you do not have senses, do you develop conscious thought.

    “I think, therefore I am.”

    Thinking is the interpretation of information. A deer thinks. An ant thinks. Anything that makes conscious decision thinks because it is given “choice.” (Save the Matrix ‘omgz.’) Choice is constructed from the analyzation of information. If you have no senses from the beginning, then there are no information receptors, and therefore your brain does not develop the ability to "think" because it has never analyzed anything, and has never had the ability to chose. If you are not thinking, then by rule of Descartes, you are not.
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    language is not necciccary for consious thought in my opinion. I can debate whether to pick up the ashtray in front of me without involving my inner monologue. that proves it to me as far as i'm concerned.

    Interesting question though. I think no, but at the same time you would think, but just of nothing? there would be no way to communicate to the poor lad, he would not be aware of a world outside his bleak nothingness.
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    (Original post by A.A.)
    language is not necciccary for consious thought in my opinion. I can debate whether to pick up the ashtray in front of me without involving my inner monologue. that proves it to me as far as i'm concerned.

    Interesting question though. I think no, but at the same time you would think, but just of nothing? there would be no way to communicate to the poor lad, he would not be aware of a world outside his bleak nothingness.
    It's not just language. Interpretation of information doesn't just mean in communication. It means in interpretating the difference between hot and cold, knowing the difference between sour and sweet, and knowing the difference between the scent of a rose and a pile of crap.

    If you never know any of the five senses, and can never begin to learn anything, there is no way you can think.
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    there are more than 5 senses guys
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    I'm know very little about psychology but here goes anyway:

    If you had no senses you presumably would never have learnt anything and would not, therefore, know white life was to know that you were alive.

    However, you presumably, would have some awareness of yourself and would therefore be as aware that you are alive as anyone else is. After all, isn't our awareness of being alive the fact that we are aware of being alive?

    I realise that that is a tautology but isn't that what Descartes (I think) said, "I think therefore I am"? We are only aware of our life because we know we are alive not because we can feel or hear.
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    yes i agree an interesting question however i do not believe a lack of sensory stimulation stops the mental processes "congnito ergo sum" i think therefore i am. despite the level or content of this thought its would still indicate a existance, even if they were not able to recognise it a so due to lack of socialisation.
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    I'm not sure - I think I agree with Rusty33...

    If you have never touched, felt, smelt, heard, or seen anything before... I don't suppose you would know you were alive. But, then again, a person feels emotionally - and these emotions can still be interpeted in a primitive, animalistic way - and I suppose this might be an indication to know that you are 'alive'. Even with no stimuli - you'd feel bored, I imagine. You might not notice, with nothing interesting to compare it to, but the feeling would still be there. But I don't suppose you'd think that far into it - you'd die before making any kind of progress.
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    Would we know they were alive?
    And can you feel emotion if you cannot display it? If you can't move, shake your fist, frown, shout, talk to others, can you be angry. My suggestion would be that people in Comas are in exactly this position. They are alive, you'd have to ask them whether they can think when they do it. Can you think when you're asleep?


    I agree, I think the much deeper question is whether you could be said to be alive at all if you'd been born this way, you'd never been "awake" oreviously, you had none of the sensory resources for dreams for example. None of the social interaction which helps us develop moods such as anger or fear.
    I don't know.
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    I think you are alive - if you can think, and the OP doesn't mention anything about not being able to. Having no senses would obviously limit your thoughts though, so it wouldn't be any kind of life worth living.
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    (Original post by Calvin)
    I agree, I think the much deeper question is whether you could be said to be alive at all if you'd been born this way, you'd never been "awake" oreviously, you had none of the sensory resources for dreams for example. None of the social interaction which helps us develop moods such as anger or fear.
    I don't know.
    That is only assuming the person was born like that. If a person were born fine and as an adult lost all their senses then they could move and display emotions. They would clearly be alive even though they lost all their senses. Doesn't that indicate that life is not dependent on having all the senses?
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    I don't think you would, though any opinion on this subject would be completely speculative.

    And I don't know if the same kind of thing to those discussing if it happened in later life, but I've been in a coma for 24 hours-ish before. I didn't hear/see/touch/taste/smell. I didn't feel alive. I felt absolutely nothing. Just before it happened I felt as though I was about to die, and when I woke up I was surprised to still be alive.
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    I think "alive" is too complex a concept to use here. The question more easily tackled would be of whether you know you exist.

    The rationalist perspective would be that you can indeed know about yourself independently of sensory information. Through pure thought, you can learn that you exist (Descartes and 'I think therefore I am') and work out some other things.

    An empiricist would contest this, claiming that all of human thought must be built up from experience, and without any senses a person can have no experiences which allow him to form concepts to think with. The mind is a blank slate and a lack of senses deprives a person of the ability to write on this slate.

    I'm not sure who I'd go with, but it's a very interesting question and also raises issues of whether there are varying levels of consciousness - even of the degree to which one is alive - even among humans.
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    (Original post by UniOfLife)
    That is only assuming the person was born like that. If a person were born fine and as an adult lost all their senses then they could move and display emotions. They would clearly be alive even though they lost all their senses. Doesn't that indicate that life is not dependent on having all the senses?
    Not necessarily. Without senses you can't have social interaction and, according to some famous philosophers, social interaction is key to a great deal: Having concepts, values, philosophies, the ability to count, do maths, understand ideas like time, space, objects, number, the difference between straight and crooked, between line, square and cube, between me and you, between black and white - and thus being able to form mental images. In short, that most if not all of what we call thinking is deeply rooted in social and cultural interaction. And if that's the case, then were you born with no senses, you would be a in a very very different situation to somebody who had been born with them, had some interaction, and then lost them.
    Most of the responses on this thread so far have either been:
    a) Without senses you wouldn't be alive.
    Or
    b) Without senses you could still think so you'd still be alive.

    And I guess what I'm throwing out there now is: If you had never had senses you wouldn't be able to think either.

    P.S. If you don't have the sense of touch, are we allowing that you can still move or not?
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    (Original post by Rusty33)
    It's not just language. Interpretation of information doesn't just mean in communication. It means in interpretating the difference between hot and cold, knowing the difference between sour and sweet, and knowing the difference between the scent of a rose and a pile of crap.

    If you never know any of the five senses, and can never begin to learn anything, there is no way you can think.

    I agree, my post was in response to "do you need language to be sentient" TML.
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    I think a brain's development relies greatly on stimuli.

    If it has no stimuli, it has no information, with no information it will have no memories to make, with no ability to make memories there will be nothing to remember. So I don't think there will be any conscious thought. Would a computer work with no RAM? no.

    Whether there are still motor nerves being fired, I don't know. Babies in the uterus have their eyes closed, can hardly hear a thing, not feel much, etc., but still kick. You might just get fetal style movements.

    also it is not important but we have a 6th sense of balance due to the semi circular canals inside the ear. So if you lost all 5 senses suddenly and were put on a roller coaster you would still feel a bit sick.
 
 
 
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