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But if life itself is good and pleasant (...) and if one who sees is conscious that he sees, one who hears that he hears, one who walks that he walks and similarly for all the other human activities there is a faculty that is conscious of their exercise, so that whenever we perceive, we are conscious that we perceive, and whenever we think, we are conscious that we think, and to be conscious that we are perceiving or thinking is to be conscious that we exist...
MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE
Empiricism: all knowledge is ultimately based on perceptual experience. Common-sense Realism: our sensory apparatuses are relatively straight-forward and passive, giving us an accurate picture of reality. Problem: interpretation plays a big role in what we perceive.
Rene Magritte, The Betrayal of Images
A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE
Olny srmat poelpe can raed this. I cdnuolt blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd what I was rdanieg. Bacuese of the phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn t mttaer in what oredr the ltteers in a word are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is that the first and last ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still raed it wouthit a porbelm. This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe. Amzanig, huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!
ANATOMY OF THE HUMAN EYE
SEEING AND INTERPRETATION
ANATOMY OF HUMAN SMELL
ANATOMY OF THE HUMAN EAR
If for some reason you had to sacrifice one of your senses, which would you be most willing to lose and which would you be least willing to lose? Why?
LANGUAGE AND OUR SENSES
I smell what you mean. George has great insmell into the issues. Smelling is believing. I ll smell you there.
DUCK OR RABBIT?
FIGURE AND GROUND: tendency to highlight certain aspects (figure) and treat other parts as background (ground). VISUAL GROUPING: tendency to look for meaning in what we see and group things into patterns and shapes CONTEXT: the way we see something depends in part on the surrounding context EXPECTATION: we see what we expect to see
THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE CONTEXT ILLUSION
FIGURE AND GROUND
A VASE? OR FACING PROFILES?
ANOMALOUS MOVEMENT ILLUSION
Squint your eyes. See a change?
Same image different size
DAILY LIFE ILLUSIONS
You are also facing visual illusions in your daily life: TV ----- All the colors you see on TV are just due to 3 colors (red, green and blue). If you look close enough, you can only see many closely packed dots of 3 colors. Because they are so close, the retinal images overlap and different colors result. The bent spoon in your glass of water and the apparently shallow swimming pool ----- are due to refraction; i.e., light travelling with different speeds in different media. Clothes with vertical stripes make a person look thinner than clothes with horizontal stripes. The moon racing through the clouds ----- we tend to view large objects (the large clouds) as stationary and the smaller object (the moon) as the one moving. A red car looks larger than a green car of the same model when viewed from far above, because of different speeds of light.
WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET
Wood anemone. Insects are often drawn to darker colours, so this vibrant hue would be instantly attractive and draw them in.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): The familiar mop top is transformed for the bees
Spring crocus (Crocus vernus): The ultraviolet image creates three rings of colour to guide insects to a happy landing
PRESSURE SENSITIVE SHARKS
IS THIS MAN A LIAR?
DEPENDS ON HOW YOU LOOK AT IT
You witness a violent crime. You get a brief glimpse of the assailant. How sure are you?
APPEARANCE OR REALITY?
Reasons for caution: 1 2 3 4 misinterpretation failure to notice something misremembering knowledge our senses have limits
How many Fs ?
Finished files are the result of years of scientific study combined with the experience of many years
THREE CONFIRMATION TESTS
Confirmation by another sense touching is believing Coherence something fits in with our overall experience Independent testimony other witnesses see the same thing
Suppose we evolved sensitivity to a different range of wavelengths, evolved bat-like echolocation, a dog-like sense of smell, an octopus-like ability to alter our skin color What is reality like once we strip away our interpretation and the limits of our sensory apparatus?
IS THE PAIN IN YOUR HAND OR IN THE FIRE?
IS THE SWEETNESS IN YOUR TASTE BUDS OR IN THE PIE?
DID IT MAKE A SOUND?
DO THEY DANCE IN THE NIGHT AFTER WE LEAVE?
THE DESK IS MOSTLY EMPTY SPACE
WHAT SHOULD WE BELIEVE?
Common-sense realism What you see is what is there
Atoms in the void
To be is to be perceived
Despite skeptical doubts, the existence of the external world is the most reasonable hypothesis to account for the regularity of our experience. Although perception cannot give us certainty, if the evidence of our senses is consistent with what reason and intuition tell us, it can still provide a good foundation for reliable knowledge.
Do we have the right interpretation of our senses ? How do we know ? Is perception or reason the more reliable source of knowledge? How does the way we describe something affect how we see it? How does your mood affect your perception of things? Does perception play any role in mathematics? How far do expectations influence observations? How does the act of observation influence that which is observed? Should we trust eyewitness evidence? To what extent do the arts help us see with new eyes? Do good people see the world differently from bad people?