Psychology of Senses: Can Senses be Trusted or Not

Psychology of Senses: Can Senses be Trusted or Not

In the universe, human beings are created uniquely with variations in how they perceive things. There are certain categories of people who strongly believe in their senses, while others do not, depending on the encounters they have gone through. According to McCosh (1968), there usually are two types of perceptions: acquired and original. This argument has brought forth controversy that needs concrete answers, over whether senses should be trusted or not. This essay therefore attempts to present the personal opinion that indeed senses should not be trusted, at least not totally.
While, senses can be true, they should not be used as tools upon which to base decisions on. This is more so considering that the desires of humans usually respond according to the situations surrounding them. Sometimes what is perceived may not be true, but can be seen as convincing, therefore leading to a conclusion, albeit an illogical one. Rene Descartes brings about a wider argument when he questions the nature of knowledge itself, as he argues that whatever learnt could only have been learnt through the senses, which cannot really be trusted (Melchert, 2007). The first time I actually realized that my senses had deceived me, was when I thought I saw a pool of water on the road on a very sunny afternoon when driving upcountry, I however could not seem to reach the pool of water, until finally I realized that it was a mirage. I therefore believe that while we have no choice over whether we should believe our senses, as they are our only means of perception, one must always doubt and question whatever they are seeing, hearing, smelling or even touching before accepting them as real.
Mental disorders usually result in behaviors that could be categorized as abnormal. This is usually attributed to mental illness, psychological disorders and psychopathology, although Descartes arguments do bring into question whether it is prudent to dismiss their perceptions and behaviors as abnormal.. For instance Wayne (2012) points out that “although two or three criteria may apply in a particular case, people are often viewed as disordered when only one criterion is met”. As you may have already noticed, to some degree diagnosis of psychological disorders involves value judgments about what represents normal or abnormal behavior. On what basis therefore are their experiences dismissed as unrealistic?
Personally, I do believe there are hallucinations and delusions, with some of the mentally ill definitely experiencing them. The sure way of separating what is real from what is not, would be to use Cartesian doubt. For instance, mentally ill patients often forget their identities or even claim they do not exist, based on Descarte’s first step of methodic doubt, this can be the first distinction between a normal person and an abnormal one; there can be no doubting one’s existence, as that is an absolute truth (Goulston, 2008). Based on such assertions, it is possible to argue that in most cases it is the mentally ill that are excessively being deceived by their senses, to the point of losing track of what is real and what is not, more so due to their lack of reason.
Being able to reason therefore forms an essential part of being able to determine what is real and what is not, as without reason there cannot really be doubt (Cavender, & Kahane, 2006). The lack of reason is what therefore leads to the blind belief in senses, which can be deceptive at times, making it necessary to be able to distinguish when the sense are to be believed and when they are not.

References
Cavender, N., C and Kahane, H. (2006). Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of
Reason in Everyday Life. USA: Wadson Cengage Learning. Print
Goulston, M. (2008). Post – Traumatic Stress Disorder for Dummies. Canada: Wiley
Publishing. Print
McCosh, J. (1867). The Intuition of the Mind Inductively Investigated. Massachusetts:
Applewood Books. Print
Melchert, N. (2007). The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press.
Sheter-Landau, R. (eds). (2007). Ethical Theory: An Anthology. West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell
Publishers.
Wayne, W. (2012). Psychology: Themes and Variations. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth
Cengage Leanring.
Lehrer, K and Konzelmann, A. (2011). Self-Evaluation: Affective and Social Grounds of
Intentionality. New York: Springer.

 

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