• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent do our senses give us knowledge of the world as it really is?

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Ioanna Kourkoulou Ib1 TOK Group 2 To what extent do our senses give us knowledge of the world as it really is? At a first thought, anyone would argue that what we experience is actual reality ? there are no illusions, or misinterpretations. It is just information that we receive from the world. The question is: What do we make of this information? And how do we know that what we perceive is all there is? Senses, knowledge, perception; all of them are born in our brains. Since every Earth being ? not only humans ? is unique, as Biology and the DNA imply, can we really trust that our brains work in identical ways, without being dogmatic? So is there only one universal reality? The first, most obvious and most significant piece of evidence is our senses. We are all aware of the fact that senses are not the same for, let?s say, humans and animals (although they vary between human beings as well). ...read more.


But this may not reflect the truth. Past experiences can also affect our perception. For example, if you eat something that you enjoy, but then causes you illness you are highly unlikely to eat it again. Your senses, that might tell you that it is tasty, are overpowered by the strength of your unfortunate experience. Optical illusions and our tendency to identify familiar patterns in what we perceive fall under the same category. If you try to sing along with a song you hear for the first time, you find yourself following rhythm patterns of songs that you have previously heard. As a result in many points you fail to follow the melody of the song, but you trust your own one. Or when you see this picture: you vainly try to see an ordinary elephant with its four legs, but you cannot. Optical illusions are inexplicable; however, they work exactly in the same way. ...read more.


The experts were convinced that it was a red wine, so they subconsciously forced their senses to believe so, too. You can easily observe the power of expectations on yourselves, as well. Think of yourselves when you are shopping. People are always disposed to consider products that are expensive more qualitative. When you buy a cheap object, you usually tend to notice its flaws, while when you have something expensive, of an exalted brand, in your possession you keep on admiring it and praising it, although it might not bear a single difference to a less expensive one. It seems like our brain doesn?t passively take in perceptions. Most of the time, it distorts our senses and provides us with a mere subjective print of the reality. But what is reality? Who can define reality? Everyone can. Or no-one. Reality is different for each and every one. But if there is no objective observer of the reality, then there is no reality! We live our lives relying on our perceptions - we build our existence and our knowledge based on them. Our perception is reality. Reality is perception. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge essays

  1. Perception. Factors such as a persons educational background, culture, societal norms and expectations, media, ...

    They can, for example, create a definition of beauty or the perfect society, which then shape behavior. The desired outcome may range from a desired political behavior, to the purchase of a certain product or behavior within certain norms. To varying degrees, different societies will use the media as an important filter through which people view the world.

  2. Theory of Knowledge: perceptions. To what extent do our senses give us knowledge ...

    Their single cortex however, enables them to use their memory as efficiently as possible, reaching up to 98%! Their disadvantage is that what they memorize is no use to them. They store it in their brain, until new information is memorized; slowly causing old memory to simply be forgotten, therefore,

  1. TOK Essay Lesson on Perception We experience the world around us through ...

    This goes to show that statistics sometimes lie. It is used as propaganda and to influence the reader and their thoughts. From the very data collected one can notice the following - a. Though 6 people place the sense of taste at 3rd, it is not the majority of the people.

  2. When should we trust our senses to give us truth?

    My Irish aunt heard these too. I had never seen a ceremony in an Irish church so I begged my aunt to take me to the church. It was a bit queer that the gates were closed, but we didn't take much notice.

  1. How do the 4 WOKS interact to give a picture of a reality?

    Language forms the base for all the other ways of knowing, for without language communication is impossible, thinking is without linearity and emotions will have no expression. One kisses to express love, this is language used to emote. Thus we can be said to perceive, emote and reason in a language.

  2. Our senses tell us that a table, for example, is a solid object; science ...

    Similarly, due to spatial familiarity, our brain appears to make us see patterns or shapes with which we are already familiar. Unfamiliar things or patterns are often unnoticed. Likewise, our prejudices and assumptions often lead us to false conclusions. A good example would be the Allport & Postman experiment in 1940.

  1. When should we trust our senses to give us truth?

    If something happens and there are numerous views, but only one view is taken into account by people, no matter how twisted or exaggerated it is, it becomes the "truth", as the actual story might never be told. Yet, there's another way to look at the matter : If a

  2. When should we trust our senses to give us truth?

    The purpose of the teacher's request is to exemplify the selective nature of our sense perception and in this case, it required reasoning. As we have established that truth lies in reality, the selective process of our senses without the involvement of the other ways of knowing can distort our understanding of truth.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work