Human body is made of senses that humans use in everyday activities to determine perception of data and hence make decisions. The perception has several reasons that help the humans to belief in the accuracy and inaccuracy of the perceived data. There are five reasons of believing in the accuracy of the data. These include, touch, and smell, hearing, taste, and sight.
When one touches something, the sense determines the perception. This can either be cold, hot, rough, smooth, etc. the message is automatically sent to the brain for interpretation. The brain then determines the mode of reaction to the sensed data. For example, if the touched body is hot, the brain senses hotness and hence pain leading to withdrawal of the hand, to avoid the pain. There is no doubt about that.
Smell on the other hand distinguishes things within the environment. For example, one can smell smoke, or something burning. The information sent to the brain warns the person of the impeding danger and hence making the person flee or make the necessary adjustments. It is thus logical and pretty easy to belief in the accuracy of the sensed data.
Sight also presents good criteria that one can use to gauge the accuracy of sensed information. The fact that one is seeing something leaves little or no doubt on the accuracy of the sensed data. Hearing also present good criteria to belief the accuracy of the data sensed. For example, when one hears some noise, there is little or no doubt on the fact that one is hearing. Even when the hearing may be hallucinations, this does not remove the fact that he person perceives some noise. The same applies to taste. When one tastes bitter, or sweet, there is little doubt on the senses.
There are events that may reduce the accuracy of the sensed data. Food is one the most critical factors that determines the accuracy of the data sensed. When one has not had eaten for long, the body systems are compromised, making the perception difficult. Therefore, one has to have had eaten a healthy meal or at least be healthy so that the perceptions are correct. The second critical factor that affects the accuracy of the data sensed is drugs. When one has taken drugs, the body systems are compromised making the person incapable of sensing appropriately. In some cases, people under influence of drugs suffer from hallucinations giving a clear indication of the effects of drugs have on the human perception. Sleep also affects the accuracy of sensed data. When one has been deprived off sleep for long hours, the body systems are affected. This affects the sensory system. Therefore, if one has not had sleep for long, they may perceive things that are not real or even be dreaming. Food, sleep, and drugs are classified as factors within the perceiver. There are other two main factors that affect the accuracy of the perceived data.
Illusion has far reaching effects on the perceived data (Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy). This happens when some perceives something to be what exactly it is not. In such a scenario, the perceived object is an illusion. For example, philosophers have used a straight stick submerged in water that appears bent while in actual sense is not. This case explains that it is not all what we perceive real or is as perceived ( Ayer 1963, pp 3-11). The variability in perception present a critical challenge on whether what one perceives is real. The example of viewing a table is used to explain this phenomenon. When two individuals view the same table, they do not perceive the table in similar manner. When one move, or changes the angle of viewing, the person experiences a different perceptions of the same object. In this scenario, the person perceiving may not actually perceive the object but be creating an illusion of the image in the mind. Thus affects the accuracy of perceived things.
Memory plays a key role in the interpretation of sensed data. Many philosopher belief that secondary qualities i.e. colors, smells, tastes, and sound do not exist in the external world. These qualities are stored in the memory as sense data. For example, considering, colors, a philosopher may proceed as follows,
- Everything directly seeing has colors
- Physical things are not colored
- Thus, everything seen directly is non-physical.
This case explains how the part of the memories or perception entrenched in the mind plays a key role in perception.
When one experience an event or a situation that closely relates to a previous event that accompanied a particular sense, the persons tends to connect the two events, and consequently the senses. For example, if one swims in non-heated pool, the water feels cold on the first event. Later, when the person repeats swimming in the pool the experience/sense remains cold even when the temperature could significantly have different temperature. This is because the brain retrieves the stored information connecting the perceiver and the object.
Ayer, A. J., 1963. The Foundations of Empirical Knowledge, London: Macmillan.
Sense-Data (Feb 25, 2011)Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy. Retrieved on 22nd, April, 2013.