Ib Theory Of Knowledge Essay: 7. "In Order To Find Out How Things Really Are, One Must Understand The Filters Through Which One Perceives The World." Discuss And Evaluate This Claim.

1577 words - 6 pages

Reality can never be found through perception, for perception is unique and different for every living being. If every living being has a distinct view on reality, how can we know which unique view is the correct one? "A fool sees not the same tree as a wise man sees," says the great poet William Blake about perception. Perception like all ways of knowing has its limitations, and if we can understand these limitations, we may be able to winnow the unreal from the real.From the beginnings of time, philosophers have pondered the nature of reality and truth. Plato first described the dilemma posed by perception in his "Myth of the Cave." The main idea expressed in Plato's allegory is that there is no way to know with certainty whether what one perceive to be true is actually true. Descartes in his "First Meditation" reaches this conclusion as well. The only thing Descartes believes he knows for sure is that he exists; yet some modern philosophers disagree even with this restrictive view, asserting that nothing can be deemed true. Knowledge, by Plato's definition, is that which we believe to be true. The fact that knowledge has been extended, changed, and even refuted over the centuries indicates that we do not and will never have a total grasp on reality and truth.Perception in the basic form is defined as that which one becomes aware of through the senses. However, the other broader definition of perception is that of which you achieve an understanding. If the broader definition is chosen, this opens the door to all the ways of knowing, including emotion, language, reason, and perception of course. However, if we use the first definition, we are limited to perception only as a way of knowing. Going by both the first and second definition, we can agree that every living being has a different perception of reality. One might say all humans perceive in the same manner, yet this is not always true, especially not with the second definition. Humans have varying levels of sensing. For example, some people have better hearing than others, while other are more sensitive to touch. Moreover, the blind generally have a much greater sensitivity to sound since a greater portion of their brain is available for that function. According to the natural sciences, the perception of reality is the interpretation by the brain of our sensations brought forth by our sensory apparatus. Different species of animals have different sensory apparati and therefore have differing perceptions. Our sensory apparatus as well as our brains act as filters of reality, only assimilating what can be perceived through the senses. For example, an eagle has a much clearer physical view of reality than humans do since their vision is four times as sharp as ours. In addition, eagles simultaneously see forwards and peripherally without ever having the need to blink. Thus, eagles can view objects which may appear invisible to us due to their enhanced vision. When we blink our eyes or when we...

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