Would that baby be able to think? It certainly seems that such wouldn’t be possible because if he does not learn language, then he is not able to think, as language is what enables thought. Therefore language can certainly lead us to existential truth. Sense perception consists on the use of the five senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch) to obtain sensory knowledge of our surroundings. Sense perception is an element of human experience.
Consider an example in which a person does not know whether something like a burning flame can be dangerous or not. Slowly establishing tactile contact with the flame is a very practical way of knowing if direct contact with the flame is hazardous. The experience of being burnt by the flame or even if just very closely approximating any part of our bodies to it and becoming aware of its danger in a short time cannot be substituted by scientific experiments and tests, which would take a lot more time than touching the flame.
It is important to say that the main assumption made is that the person touching the flame has not got damaged sensory neurones, but even in that situation, not being aware of the high temperatures does not mean that damage is not being done to the body part in contact with the flame. Therefore, it can make a person aware of an undeniable truth that the flame can be biologically harmful. However, sense perception must be treated with caution because it is subject to experience and interpretation.
As a way of reaching the truth, it is helpful, although to very little extent because when our senses are stimulated, our brain goes through a phase of interpretation, which means that regardless of our interpretations, we are immediately unable to experience the raw information. Considering selective sensing, transmits an even greater sensation of inaccuracy when trying to perceive the truth through our senses. Henry Thoreau once said that “it’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see”. This statement very accurately presents the idea of selective sensing.
Human beings don’t “see” everything they look at because when the retina is stimulated by light, the brain only interprets the electric signals sent by the optic nerve. Optical illusions are examples of visual stimulus, which are interpreted based on experience. For example, if a person sees an optical illusion several times, its illusionary power is lost due to the person acquiring experience and interpreting it several times. This can lead us to believe that as experience increases, then the more reliable our senses can become to lead us to truth, although not in the case of an independent reality.
Reason is an invaluable way of determining whether something is true or not. Through inductive reasoning, we can establish something as true based on a familiar and valid pattern. However, the problem of induction is one that is everlasting, as complete certainty is impossible with truths reasoned using induction: My seven mathematics teachers have not tolerated missing deadlines. Therefore, all mathematics teachers do not tolerate missing deadlines. The conclusion derived through induction might be true, but I can never be completely certain of it because I have not been a student of all mathematics teachers.
Through deduction we then reason the following syllogism: All mathematics teachers do not tolerate missing deadlines. I have missed the deadline for my mathematics assignment. My mathematics teacher will not tolerate missing my deadline. Although deduction logically preserves the truth, the first premise is not completely true because of its generalized derivation. This leads me to conclude that the validity of an argument is independent of the truth or falsity of its premises, which in sense leads me to qualify the laws of logic as somewhat contradicting or not completely reliable.
However, induction and deduction are powerful ways of approximating to the truth due to their dependency on past experiences and their consistency respectively. In sciences, there is an overreliance on deduction as a way to determine something as truthful, but it is important not to become trapped in the prison of consistency, as such may turn our human endeavour for truth into a passive pursuit. Emotion can be loosely defined as the various internal feelings and external forms of behavior demonstrated by living beings.
According to the James-Lange theory, emotions are primarily physical in nature, and bodily reactions occur before mental reactions because they are the cause of such mental reactions. This theory states that without the bodily reactions, emotional reactions can’t actually occur. This can be true to a certain extent, in the sense that most emotions are preceded by a set of bodily expressions. For example, when a person is angry, they experience acceleration in heartbeat rate, contracted facial muscles and vigorous hand gestures.
By correctly interpreting human body language and facial expressions (micro-expressions), we can become aware of a person’s emotional state at a particular time, assuming that emotional reactions are universal and they can be compared, regardless of the culture of the analyzed individuals. Emotions can also be an obstacle to truth, specifically when it affects the other ways of knowing. One’s perception of a certain person might be affected if we do not like that same person.
A person might be less open-minded about different perspectives if they are very confident about their beliefs. If a person is in a very strong emotional state, their language might be confusing for the receiver to understand the sender’s intentions. However, emotions also provide us with the passion and willingness to search for truth. On our quest for truth, we cannot help consider its non-linear nature. There is no such thing as a completely comprehensive definition, as some can value truth’s seemingly absolute nature over its relative nature or vice-versa.
However, when we consider how the different ways of knowing affect each other, we can quickly conclude that the more perspectives we have and the more ways of knowing we exploit in our quest for truth, the closer we become. Comparing the same emotion in different contexts, studying and learning different languages, heightening our senses or being careful when using our reasoning are all ways in which we can make the path to truth clearer and the destination closer.
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