Gabriela Gross Theory of Knowledge 1 Mrs.

Giddings “Seeing is Believing” “The more I see, the less I know for sure.” ~ John Lenon As curious human beings that we are, whenever we come across something absolutely new, we immediately begin using our five senses to make sense of it. It is the sense of touch, smell, hearing, taste, and sight that allows us to make sense of our reality. Our brain will immediately take sensory information, process it, and find a way for it to correspond with our initial understanding of reality. The sense of sight is the one that we generally mostly depend on in our day to day life, hence the saying “seeing is believing.” This saying is based on common-sense realism where what we perceive is passive and reliable giving us a precise view of our reality and therefore knowledge (Lagemaat). This logic is just another tool in our reasoning that will allow us to distinguish between what is and what isn’t true. However, to what extent is our sight reliable? How limited is it? The way we perceive things through our eyes is very much subject to brain interpretation. A Chinese proverb explores this by saying “Two thirds of what we see is behind our eyes.” Although we may be seeing something, the brain begins interpreting the signals sent by the optic nerve from the moment it flips the image the right way up. Immediately after the brain will begin considering certain things such as context, figure and ground, and expectations to interpret the image (Lagemaat). Optical illusions allow us to understand the limitations of pure sight. For example, size is an interpretation and therefore illusion in certain contexts, through selectivity we decide to pay attention to certain things over others which will affect the overall understanding of the image, and our expectations will either make us see something or miss it. In the case of quantum-mechanics, our vision is never reliable because reality “behaves” differently when observed and not observed. This is the case when analyzing the movement of light as a stream photons or as a wave of possibilities. In any case, in most cases we are unconsciously accustomed to the causes of these illusions which can make us consider the following question: if a big majority of what we see is based on illusions, then is our reality a visual illusion? In this case one should consider those who are blind and wonder if their perception of reality is the same as that of those who see through correspondence. Therefore, our visual perception is distorted to some extent by our brain’s interpretations, which in turn can create illusions and affect our view on reality. On the other hand, “seeing is believing” can very much be true and useful. Beliefs can be defined as opinions we are convinced of. By using our sense of sight, we provide evidence to our beliefs and turn it into knowledge. This strategy belongs to the school of empiricism, where perception (through our senses) provides us with knowledge. For example, if one were told that a baby was born with two heads, one would immediately recur to the saying “seeing is believing” because it is not enough to use coherence to make sense of the validity of this statement, instead correspondence is required. Nonetheless, if one were to truly see a baby with two heads then this perceptual fact would allow us to

but by believing there is. while the Catholic Irish witnesses believed and promised the contrary (Lagemaat). Further in to this topic.expand our sense of reality. British troops believed they were the ones under attack and promised to have seen the attack. Vision is also the primary sense for most areas of knowledge. yet we believe in him and expect him to manifest himself and therefore fall for the self-fulfilling prophecy theory. we cannot see God. if one were to point at a blank spot somewhere and act as if something were there. For instance. but it also helps to expand our view and possibilities of our reality. Belief is also very subjective. therefore. What we take to be true is our reality. Ludwig Wittgenstein once said. Expectations have a big influence in this regard and will affect the judgments made. there will not necessarily be a definite image of something in the painting. the combination of beliefs and vision can impact our perception differently in different areas of knowledge. in history. Reality is what we take to be true. but most of all it allows us to open our reality horizons in order to be willing to experience what is out of the ordinary because as Aldous Huxley says “There are things known and there are things unknown. and in between are the doors of perception. What we have experienced before will influence our perception on reality. one should wonder do we see to believe. another issue of knowledge to consider. What we perceive determines what we believe. In conclusion. What we perceive depends upon what we look for. However. people would certainly be driven by curiosity and believe you and eventually find something to watch intently at. but where the limit of vision is the limit to our reality. during “Bloody Sunday” in 1972. ~ Gary Zukav ~ . one will end up seeing this image. Perception allows us to prove certain aspects of life. Everyone should be open-minded and willing to see things that go beyond our expectations.” This quote can be adapted to the idea of vision as perception. This is a theory which insists that we will look for situations that will favor our belief rather than countering it (Pawlik-Kienlen). At times seeing does reinforce our believes and support knowledge. “The limits of my language means the limits of my world. This is. for example. the saying “expect the unexpected” can be applied here. in the bible it is mentioned that Thomas did not believe the rest of the disciples that Jesus had risen from the bed and preferred to rely on sensory perception before accepting the miraculous fact (John 20: 24-29) (Bailey). What we believe determines what we take to be true. Thus. according to phenomenalism pertaining to the classical philosophical positions. On the other hand. In abstract art. Therefore. What we think depends upon what we perceive. perception comes from experience instead of reality. What we believe is based upon our perceptions. Therefore. What we take to be true is what we believe. Theologically speaking once more. theologically speaking. or do we believe to see? For instance. science is an area that can prove that seeing is believing since science relies on factual qualitative and quantitative evidence. What we look for depends upon what we think." How much we choose to rely on our vision and to what extent now depends on how we wish to view our reality and how much we are willing to test it.

. Web. Pawlik-Kienlen. <>. Print. Cambridge. < Laurie.Works Cited: Bailey. "Self-Fulfilling Prophecies in Psychology. Van De Lagemaat. 2011. Web. Richard. Linda. 2007. 9 June 2008. England: Cambridge UP. 10 Mar. Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma.Daily Biblical Inspiration by Linda Bailey. 2011. 07 Mar. 4th ed. 07 Mar. 2007. "Seeing Is Believing?" Daily Devotional .suite101.">.