TOK - Can we rely on perception to lead us to the truth

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Sheheryar Javaid        IB1-2        Mrs. Cope

Can we rely on Perception as a way of Knowing to lead us to the Truth?

Perception is the process by which humans and animals interpret and receive information and use this obtained information to understand different things. One question that arises is, ‘Who are we talking about’. The way perception is used differs from person to person and animal to animal. The difference between humans and animals is our ability to think and reason logically. Animals rely on their perception for survival. Lions are an example as they have a strong sense of smell to find their prey. This example shows how some kinds of perception are different for humans and animals.

Animal’s features were made specific to the type of animal they are and their environment. An example being dogs as their sense of smell is far greater than us humans. Continuing from the dog example, if we smell something, we are not completely sure what it is as it can be a number of things. But a dog’s strong sense of smell can be more reliable. This verifies that dogs can rely on their sense of smell more than humans, proving the fact that the reliability of senses is not the same for all humans and animals.  

This point brings ‘reliance’ into question. It is certain that we cannot rely on a Way of knowing too much as each has their doubts. It is never safe to put complete reliance on a Way of knowing so by putting full reliance, we need to be sure that it is true. Therefore, at different situations, we rely on different Ways of Knowing for the truth.  

However perception is not only different between humans and animals, there are also differences between the ways humans perceive things and how they choose to perceive it. Many examples were used to prove this, a well known one being visual images. They can be perceived differently as they have different images hidden inside of them.

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This is image may be perceived by some people as a man playing a saxophone, and to some as a woman. It mostly depends on the way you look at it initially. When I looked at it, initially I thought it was a woman, but when is asked my 7 seven old sister, she only noticed the man and paid no attention to any other details, probably as her brain is underdeveloped. People may notice the darkness of the black man and focus on that but some may focus on the outside details and see the woman’s face. ...

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