• 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...

Introduction

When should we trust our senses to give us truth? For the purpose of this essay, I would like to clarify that 'senses' as mentioned above, refer to the senses of touch, smell, sight, hearing and taste. In my opinion, truth is something that can be justified by the three theories of coherence, correspondence and pragmatism. We should trust our senses to give us the truth only when they are backed by solid reasoning, and when our senses give us truth that can be considered true when all the three theories of truth are taken into account. Delving into history, there are many examples of situations wherein the senses have provided us with something 'unbelievable'. On September 21st 1995, an Indian priest dreamt of Lord Ganesha craving for milk. Determined to quench the Lord's thirst, the priest offered a spoonful of milk to an idol of the elephant god. Quite unbelievably, the god drank it up. This is not just the verdict of one man about one particular idol. All the Ganesh idols all over the world were drinking milk. Scientists from India's Ministry of Science and Technology (MST) explained this phenomenon as capillary action: the surface tension of the milk was pulling it up from the spoon, and before it could rise further, gravity would pull it down along the surface of the idol like a thin invisible film. ...read more.

Middle

But, it happened again on 21st August 2006. Although Scottish philosopher David Hume said that the witness to an alleged miracle is more likely to be mistaken than the laws of nature falsified, with the same even occurring twice, there is something mysterious about this event. Certainly the probability of this case being attributed to mass hysteria again is very low, but there is no other plausible explanation. However Through the next three months, priests tried to feed the Ganesha a teaspoon of milk every day, but it seemed like his thirst was satiated. The scientific method follows a trend to find the answers. The trend was clear: the idols drank milk on only two occasions. In science they would be called anomalies. But then again, it is their senses that provided them with the knowledge. Maybe their senses were not providing the truth. Maybe Ganesh was drinking milk every day and their senses are deceived them. If the probability of all their senses being flawed on the day Ganesh did drink milk is low, then the probability of their senses being flawed on the day Ganesh didn't drink milk is also equally low. ...read more.

Conclusion

So, according to all the theories of truth, my senses were telling me the truth. However, I still cannot come to terms with it. If everything around us is matter made up of particles which we can see, how can we see ghosts? They are not known to be made up of particles, they are just energy. An old myth says that when we die, our soul escapes our body, which is why we lose exactly twenty one grams. The Paranormal Research Society has attributed this to ghost sightings, saying that the energy is the person's soul, and when it is powerful enough it crosses the realms of the world of the dead to enter the world of the living. If one concentrates one can see it and even talk to it. If that is indeed true, then I don't think my senses are telling me the truth all the time. There must be energies lurking around, which my senses do not seem to be able to pick up. In conclusion, many factors influence the perception of the knowledge that our senses give us. When deciding whether they provide the truth, it is best to consider the three theories of coherence, correspondence and pragmatism, and see if the senses are depicting the truth. (1589 words) ...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?

    Senses in this case, cannot be fully reliable, and senses do deceive by not giving us real truth. Truth is limited by the extent which our senses can perceive it, and we as humans are limited in grasping true reality based on the limitations of our flesh.

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

    Again, our senses because of perception may give us the wrong information and thus senses cannot be fully trusted because perceptions do color our senses. In biology, scientists rely heavily on sight in order to find evidence on what is to be believed.

  1. When should we discard explanations that are intuitively appealing?

    There are also other cases in which perception would be skewed to the point of inaccuracy. Eyewitnesses are often used to recognize criminals from a number of suspects.2 However, sight is a sense that can easily be influenced by emotion and the subconscious.

  2. Choose two senses and explain how they have claims to knowledge.

    If we take the example of the Ecology topic, what we do is to observe the living organisms and how they develop and react in their own ecosystem, and in order to do that, we must use our sense of sight; for example, watching how many species are there in a rainforest environment.

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

    The most obvious reason is that often one's senses will conflict with another. One example where this conflict between senses is evident is when meeting new people. I have had countless experiences where someone I had just met looks unfriendly, but turnouts to be a rather kind, friendly person after getting to know them.

  2. Free essay

    When should we trust our senses to give us truth?

    A similar experiment was conducted in Germany where individuals were placed in a dark room on a moving platform. They viewed an initially stationary landscape. When the platform moved and the image moved in the same direction, the individuals did not say they were moving.

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

    At the same time there are 7 others placing it at 4th and below respectively.

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

    However, there are instances in which we are unable to rely on senses. Our senses have limitations to the amount of information that they can receive. Unlike the senses of animals, which are much more attuned to their surroundings, human senses are not as sensitive to detect small details in the environment.

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