I feel as though I have no choice but to be a skeptic about our ability to know the world on the sense experience given the information that is being presented.
Our senses are touching, hearing, smelling and tasting, I believe it is quite possible that a person could think they see, touch, and smell something such as a glass of bear but there be no glass of beer present, therefore their perception of this glass of beer is false. There is a good possibility that this person is suffering from any of the numerous possible sensations, auditory, visual or tactile, experienced without external stimulus and caused by mental derangement, intoxication or fever, in other words this person could be hallucinating. There are many ways that the senses can be tricked into believing things that are not true, an example is when a person takes the drug LSD, this drug is one which alters the state of the mind and tricks it into visually perceiving things which are not real such as pink elephants, green rats, gold skin and so on. Hallucinations may occur when pressure is applied to different sections, drawing different reactions from the person being affected, these reactions are caused by the affected person seeing things which they perceive to be real . Hallucinations are only one way by which the visual perception of an object can be altered there are many more ways by which the visual perception of an object can be altered; for example consider a square envelope, pay very close attention to what you see when you look at this object. If the envelope does not move but you do then your perception of this object will continually change as you move about and the “square envelope” no longer looks square.
Because a square object such as an envelope can’t be square and not square at the same time then the visual perception of the object must be false. Another false visual perception would be a mirage, for example when you drive down a flat stretch of highway on a hot summer day it appears as though there are patches of water on the road up ahead, as you get closer and closer to where the water appears to be it disappears. Another example would be illusions with mirrors such as the ones that David Copperfield performs, in his performances he astounds audiences by making it appear as if people are floating on air. In regard to the debate in section 11 of Philosophical Problems and Arguments I tend to agree with premise one which states that we can sometimes be mistaken in our perceptual beliefs, for example when we hallucinate we are mistaken in our perceptual although we may not realize it at that particular point in time. As for premise two I tend not to agree with this one, I don’t believe that it is always logically possible that our perceptual beliefs are false other wise we would all be hallucinating and I find it hard to grasp that billions and billions of people are hallucinating.
As for the final premise and the conclusion I tend to believe that they are both false because they both relay on the second premise being true. It is said that “seeing is believing” but with hallucinations, optical illusions and other false visual perceptions occurring without people even realizing it, you have got to wonder who came up with the term “seeing is believing” and how it could ever be possible that somebody would believe such a ludicrous statement. Category: Philosophy