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

When should we trust our senses to give us truth?

Extracts from this document...


When should we trust our senses to give us truth? We as humans rely on our senses in order to effectively communicate with our environment. It is possible that one often neglects these powers completely, oblivious of the fact that it may be the sole means by which we have obtained all our knowledge. For example, with our sight we are able to appreciate nature's beauty, with our hearing and touch we are able to converse with others; our senses equip us to deal with and also to appreciate our environment. In visual art for example, one enjoys a piece of painting when the viewer's senses are aroused or triggered. There may not be proper reasoning involved while observing a particular piece of artwork. However, it is difficult much harder to gain mathematical knowledge if one was to only use their senses. Before we discuss whether we should trust our senses to give us the truth, how can truth be defined? According to Aristotle "To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what is ...read more.


Not only do the five senses provide contradicting feedback to one individual; but senses can be sharply varying among people. It is possible for two people to view the same artwork at the same time in the same environment but interpret it in completely differently ways. This is because phenomena picked up by our senses is interpreted by our brains, and each of us may interpret our observations differently. This also shows how our brains do not record everything detected by our senses; thus there must be some kind of subconscious filtration system in which the brain determines what to hold onto and what to forget, and surely this system works differently for different individuals. Of course there the question of, how can we trust our senses where there can be factors that impede our ability to use utilize senses to their maximum potential. Often illnesses will deprive one from using their senses to its optimum potential. For example a cold will reduce our ability to smell or taste something. Other examples include: blindness preventing one from seeing things, Deafness preventing a person from hearing. ...read more.


of senses is incomprehensible; if we were to not use or trust our senses at all, we would have observed or obtained nothing to reason in the first place. In conclusion, our five senses - sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing - are critical in observing the world around us and interconnecting the various ways of knowing. The brain constantly uses reasoning to apply meaning to the observations made through the use of our senses. However, one should acknowledge hat there are certain situations in which our senses can lack accuracy. We should not be quick to trust our senses when they conflict with each other, when they conflict with another individual's senses, or when they are being degraded by external factors. However, we should certainly trust our senses to give us knowledge and truth when we can back them up with sufficient reasoning or experience. Therefore, it can be said that all known truths have been obtained through the use of senses together with reasoning. We should trust our senses to give us truth only when the knowledge we obtain is public, independent of anyone's belief, eternal, and can be justified with reasoning. Word count: 1180 ...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. When should we trust our senses to give us truth?

    Also what exactly is the definition of truth? Is there only one "truth"? Or does everyone have their own truth? If there really is just one truth then I think it means that is uniquely shared by all things, by all observers. That suggests some kind of universal connection, which in turn opens up more questions.

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

    However, those who understand artistic conceptual value may appreciate the concept of which this composition was based on; the idea that silence is in fact an abstract notion, (Cage 81)

  1. This essay will explore how sense cannot be trusted to give us the whole ...

    This can be seen in the natural sciences where scientists make observations in order to explain a phenomenon, in other words, to determine the truth because our senses are what enables us to gain information which helps us to explain how the world functions.

  2. Free essay

    When should we trust our senses to give us truth?

    It therefore becomes apparent that sense perception is easily manipulated. Although the truth might be obtained or justified more by applying language, emotion and reason to the situation, the confusion between different impulses or the false provision of certain impulses in conjunction with language, emotion and reason will lead to

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

    Human science is the area where we are seeking to know meaning- related realities1 that are not bound to specific time and places. When performing scientific experiments it is given that you will use and trust your senses to give you the right answer.

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

    He knows that there are five 'layers' throughout a leaf. He knows that the most external layer is the cuticle, followed by the epidermis, palisade mesophyll, the spongy mesophyll and finally the lower epidermis. Another biologist who has studied each of these layers through a microscope knows that each layer

  1. When (if ever) should we trust our senses to give us truth?

    We appear to rely on our senses in order to perceive the truth in terms of the world and the surroundings. Senses are the representation of reality, we can perceive that there is an apple on the table by touching or seeing it through motor and sensory neurons and electromagnetic rays.

  2. How far can we rely on our senses to tell us the truth?

    I remember reading a story named ?The Case for the Defence? by Graham Greene, a famous English novelist, which dealt with a strange murder trial.

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