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TOK Essay - Perception "We have eyes to see with, ears to hear with, then why do we err?"

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Jessica Wang TOK Essay: Perception "We have eyes to see with, ears to hear with, then why do we err?" Perception can be defined as the complex method by which we obtain information about the world around us through the use of our senses: sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. We use these senses to interpret reality, but how does our perception, using the senses, affect reality? The senses seemingly provide a window to the world as it really is yet many times these senses mislead us. This is because perception can be limiting and varies from person to person depending on many different factors that all play a role in affecting the way we perceive things. Biological influences, biological limitations, and technological advances shape the nature of perception. Biological influences allow us to see, feel, and hear things; yet they are limited in that they only allow us to see, feel and hear so much. For example, a dog can hear sounds that we cannot, just as an eagle can see much further than we can. Technological advances have opened a whole new world of perception. Telescopes and microscopes have allowed us to see things that we have never seen before. With my eyes alone, the moon to me is a yellow shape in the sky, yet if I use a telescope, the moon is revealed to have a landscape of its own. ...read more.


However, if you are in the classroom and you know that there are classrooms around your classroom then this perception of rooms around your classroom is representative realism because you cannot directly see them. Perceptual relativism can also be split into normative relativism and descriptive relativism. Normative relativism is the claim that there is not just one way to perceive anything while descriptive relativism goes back to the idea that groups with different cultures, languages, and biological makeup perceive the world in a different way. The final theory of perception is perceptual skepticism, which is very different from the other two. There is an experiment with fingers that explains the relationship between perception and reality and perceptual skepticism very well. If you hold up your finger and focus on it, there is one finger and a blurry background, however if you change your focus onto the background, you have two fingers that are both blurry. We know that there aren't two fingers in the real world, yet we see two fingers. This brings the question of what are the two things we are seeing? There are two images of the finger in your mind and so the implication of this is that the blurry fingers that you see are simply images created by your mind. Because of this, it seems that the "in focused" finger is also an image in your mind, and since your finger is like any other objects, all objects are just an image created by your mind. ...read more.


by that man and sat the innocent man next to the guilty man and asked her to point out who raped her, and she pointed to the innocent man and they put him back into jail. It wasn't until several years later that the guilty man finally admitted that he had done it. This situation also shows that our perception may also be affected by the reliability of the record of the observation. If other people see it too, then we sometimes think that it must be true. However in this circumstance, both women who were raped could not identify the actual rapist. Memory and other people therefore are not so reliable. Because there are so many aspects that go into determining how we perceive things, it is impossible to see things from all perspectives, and therefore we make mistakes in our perception. It is important to understand that we cannot understand all sides of a situation. Somebody once wrote that, "By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies - all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable." Which means that one person can never know exactly what another person feels. Sometimes they may be able to relate because they may have experienced a similar situation, but they can never feel the same feelings or sensations and therefore all our feelings are independent and isolated. ...read more.

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