Perception and Reality

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Perception and Reality

Post Number:#1  Postby Eaglerising » May 10th, 2017, 11:53 pm

Is our perception our reality? Or, is reality something different from perception?
I ask these questions because I was wondering if our perception prevents us from accurately seeing “what is?” If it does, then everyone’s view of “what is” would be different, unique. And if everyone’s perception is different, does it prevent us from understanding one another?
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Perception and Reality



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Re: Perception and Reality

Post Number:#2  Postby Alias » May 12th, 2017, 12:44 pm

If by "everyone" you mean human beings, then our perception can only be as different as the range of our sensory and processing equipment can vary.
Similar physiology and brain function will guarantee a wide overlap of perception and the interpretation of data.
This is what makes language and other forms of human communication possible: we are able to share, store and transmit information only
because we do perceive reality in a similar way.
This is also why it is more difficult for humans to communicate with other species on the same planet: though we all
inhabit the same reality, our sensory and processing equipment is different from that of rodents or insects or birds or fish.
The quantity and ease of communication between species are proportional to the overlap in physiology and brain structure - e.g. carnivorous land mammals.

As to how much of reality we can perceive: enough to survive. Maybe some extra. More, with instruments.
We will never be able to know what we can't perceive with the help of instruments.
Therefore, we cannot how much more reality there is.
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Re: Perception and Reality

Post Number:#3  Postby Eaglerising » May 12th, 2017, 1:32 pm

Alias – Is every human being’s reality determined by their perception? It is another way of asking, if our reality and perception the same thing?

Alias stated,
our perception can only be as different as the range of our sensory and processing equipment can vary.


Let’s examine that statement to see if that is factual, realistic, or logical. Please keep in mind I am referring to an individual’s reality as opposed to a universal perception of one. Let’s use two people with the same sensory range and same processing equipment as an example. We will also have them attended the same schools and graduate together. Would their perception be the same or different? Would they have identical vocabularies, express themselves the same, did they have identical experiences throughout their life, or have the same emotional attachments to various words, concepts, or beliefs. What if one or more of the following were different: their personalities, race, and religion, family, and friends? Would their perception’s be identical or different? Finally, would their reality be the same or different than their perception?

Alias –
As to how much of reality we can perceive: enough to survive. Maybe some extra. More, with instruments. We will never be able to know what we can't perceive with the help of instruments. Therefore, we cannot how much more reality there is.


I am not even considering any of that because it is a distraction and doesn’t answer the question, is every human being’s reality the same as their perception? Likewise, is everyone’s reality the same?
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Re: Perception and Reality

Post Number:#4  Postby Alias » May 12th, 2017, 8:05 pm

Eaglerising wrote:[Alias stated: our perception can only be as different as the range of our sensory and processing equipment can vary. ]

Let’s examine that statement to see if that is factual, realistic, or logical. Please keep in mind I am referring to an individual’s reality as opposed to a universal perception of one.
Let’s use two people with the same sensory range and same processing equipment as an example.

What makes you think any two people have the same range? I said the difference is limited; not that any people are identical.
We will also have them attended the same schools and graduate together. Would their perception be the same or different? Would they have identical vocabularies, express themselves the same, did they have identical experiences throughout their life, or have the same emotional attachments to various words, concepts, or beliefs. What if one or more of the following were different: their personalities, race, and religion, family, and friends?

None of this is relevant to perceptions of reality. So long as they have sufficient overlap of perception, feeling and thought, and some kind of language in common (this may be music or mathematics, visual imagery or Braille), they can share some experiences.
Finally, would their reality be the same or different than their perception?

Their reality is the world they live in. They perceive it both similarly and differently. But if one of them goes to the other's house for dinner, they can be reasonably sure of having the same use for the furniture, cutlery and food.
I am not even considering any of that because it is a distraction and doesn’t answer the question, is every human being’s reality the same as their perception? Likewise, is everyone’s reality the same?

Reality is real. Whatever we perceive of it is useful to us. We don't own it; we just live in it.
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Re: Perception and Reality

Post Number:#5  Postby Eaglerising » May 12th, 2017, 8:45 pm

Alias - You still haven't answered the question: are perception and reality the same thing or different? Why are they the same or different?

Alias –
Your said:None of the following is relevant to perceptions of reality.
We will also have them attended the same schools and graduate together. Would their perception be the same or different? Would they have identical vocabularies, express themselves the same, did they have identical experiences throughout their life, or have the same emotional attachments to various words, concepts, or beliefs. What if one or more of the following were different: their personalities, race, and religion, family, and friends?


What is your definition of perception? Is it the same or different than your perception or reality? I am defining perception as: the way we think about or understand someone or something. It is a composite of everything we know, think, believe and experienced. It is the lens we use to view our environment.
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Re: Perception and Reality

Post Number:#6  Postby Alias » May 12th, 2017, 9:52 pm

Eaglerising wrote:Alias - You still haven't answered the question: are perception and reality the same thing or different? Why are they the same or different?

Yes I have answered it, twice. Reality is all that there is in the universe. Perception is what living entities are able to sense and the process of their interaction with the world. Of course that's not the same thing, or anything like the same thing.

Your said:None of the following is relevant to perceptions of reality.
We will also have them attended the same schools and graduate together. Would their perception be the same or different? Would they have identical vocabularies, express themselves the same, did they have identical experiences throughout their life, or have the same emotional attachments to various words, concepts, or beliefs. What if one or more of the following were different: their personalities, race, and religion, family, and friends?

That's right. Experience is not perception or reality, though both play important parts in experience. Schools, vocabulary or beliefs have very little effect on the fact that falling on a hard sidewalk will hurt both of them; they will be identify the same kind of substances as nourishment; if they have measles, the spots will itch; they can see blue but not ultra violet; they can navigate by compass but not chemical trails. Whether two human come from the same town or opposite sides of the globe, they both have some range of sensory input that falls within the physical capabilities of Homo sapiens, and a brain of approximately the same size, with the same components, with which to organize and respond to those sensory data.

What is your definition of perception?

The awareness of the internal system and external environment through the sensory organs, as reported to the brain by the nervous system, the information hen being interpreted and organized by the brain.
Is it the same or different than your perception or reality?

How can perception be different from perception?

I am defining perception as: the way we think about or understand someone or something. It is a composite of everything we know, think, believe and experienced. It is the lens we use to view our environment.

That's cognition, conceptualization and cogitation.
And even the variety of that, in humans, is limited to the range of human capability. Any two people's thinking is more alike than any person's is like any grasshopper's.
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Re: Perception and Reality

Post Number:#7  Postby Eaglerising » May 13th, 2017, 12:42 am

Alias – I see that it would have helped if I had defined "perception" in the beginning. It would have save all the confusion. Unlike most, I view cognition as being part of perception. I also feel the limitations of being human prevent us from seeing reality. In other words, what is commonly viewed as "reality" is an illusion. I am interested in your view of it. Using your definition, is everyone's cognition their reality? Are cognition and reality the same or different?

-- Updated May 13th, 2017, 12:00 am to add the following --

It probably would help to point out I see cognition as the ability, or lack of it, to process information gathered by the senses.
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Re: Perception and Reality

Post Number:#8  Postby Consul » May 13th, 2017, 9:51 am

Eaglerising wrote:Alias - You still haven't answered the question: are perception and reality the same thing or different? Why are they the same or different?


You should clarify the meaning of your question! You cannot expect clear answers to unclear questions.
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Re: Perception and Reality

Post Number:#9  Postby Burning ghost » May 13th, 2017, 9:55 am

Eaglerising -

I understood your use of perception. Many people take it to mean "sensory perception", sensibility, rather than as a cognitive function. From there you can probably see that in asking your question you've already set out the parameters for the answer. Our view is all it can be. This view we call "reality". It may very well be the only view (among a community of human understandings - language etc.) that there is to know. What there is to know beyond our knowledge is unknowable and therefore we are not in any position to regard such as "reality" within the limited confines of this definition. To think of something beyond our knowledge is to bring it into our knowledge. Strictly speaking (by certain logic of language - reason) we cannot know what we cannot know. Its existence is of no importance to our cognition although it may very well actually be important to our essential being.

This is all about a conundrum of language rather than about presenting ideas of reality being definitively X or Y.

Science of course is our best attempt to delineate between individual views to create a larger picture we can all logically and reasonably agree upon. Math is the biases of this because we cannot talk about having an opinion about an equation. The answer always possesses certainty not opinion. Only in math can I say 1+1=2 is a truth, rather than an opinion. From here we can see that the truth of the situation is defined by the rules we set to the "language" in use.

So to ask is our perception our reality? You have already answered this in the question. We can have no other perception of reality other than that of our own perception. We merely believe we can appreciate the idea of another wholly alien perception but that is merely an "illusion" set in the language. More simply put I cannot be you and you cannot be me. That does not mean we cannot come understand each other to some degree. The degree we can come to understand each other though is necessarily limited by our singular perceptions, which exist largely through our "community" with the World in general, each other being a major part of this world of human society.

Our perception is accurately "seeing" "what is". We refine this through experience and application methodology. We do only have a very limited (or maybe not?) for applying our methodology. We may be able to compare and contrast all sorts of different data, but we are strictly limited to doing so with very limited pieces of data rather than having the time to compare things like room temperature compared to the stock markets in Iceland. Through certain methods of reason I imagine most people would conclude that such an investigation would yield nothing other than circumstantial evidence and therefore we focus more on other areas and sets of data that will offer more accurate pictures of how nature "functions".

The idea of a "reality" out there is what science biases its premise on. Of course at the very limits of macro and micro investigation scientific investigation meets maybe problems due to the lack of intuition we have about such obscure realms. Nevertheless we can build instruments to probe and as best we can make "educated" guesses and fashion ways to test these guesses if and when the situation occurs.

Term like "reality" and "life" are abstract ideas that are used to frame communal understanding. Often if the sense of the term used is not made clear there can be many misinterpretations (which ironically may actually lead to accidental discoveries that can shift the current paradigm). The thing with such shifts in paradigms is that at the time we simply don't see them coming. They are alien beasts casting all manner of shadows into our current understanding and our "imagining" of them will assuredly never compare to the beast that emerges from the shadows.

Modern day phenomenon that will have slipped attention would be how I can right now communicate over vast distances without even considering how this concept a thousand years ago would seem a mere fantasy that existed only within realm of a far flung "possible". Much like humankind landing on the moon or knowing what the Sun was made of.

The biggest shifts in humanity recently have probably been in language and then with the rise of civilization the Greek's development of "theoretical knowledge" and then practical applications that led from there. Today most people are still stuck in the Newtonian perception of the universe. That can be seen quite clearly on forums like this where the paradigm of a "clockwork" universe still rules peoples general approach to physics. Due, I believe, to education being a sham in most institutions.

Sorry for long reply ... waiting for flight! :)
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Re: Perception and Reality

Post Number:#10  Postby Alias » May 13th, 2017, 10:48 am

Eaglerising wrote:Alias – I see that it would have helped if I had defined "perception" in the beginning. It would have save all the confusion.

There is no confusion; there is only a slight disagreement.
Unlike most, I view cognition as being part of perception

That's a secondary, generally accepted, application of the word. Actually, you made it fairly clear at the beginning
that you have a more inclusive notion of perception; I chose not to adopt your whole definition, but can accommodate that part.
I also feel the limitations of being human prevent us from seeing reality.

You don't need to intuit - or feel - that: it's obvious. A tiny portion of the whole cannot possibly be aware of the whole.
A seed inside an apple might conceive some idea of having a bigger purpose than sitting in the dark, absorbing nutrients and growing fat;
it might have an inkling of a world beyond its ken, but it cannot possibly be aware of anything beyond apple-core -
not tree, leaves, roots, bark beetles, soil, air, hills, winter, Earth, moon, Saturn, black holes...
Maybe if it invented a tiny infra-red periscope and bored a hole up through the apple, it could get a glimpse of the inside
of the digestive system of the deer that was about to disseminate it in another part of the forest - but it hasn't any eyes, so it can't.
In other words, what is commonly viewed as "reality" is an illusion.

That's a biggish blanket to make out of a limitation. What makes you think that what you think is uncommon?
How do you know what's real and what's illusion in the "common knowledge"?
I am interested in your view of it. Using your definition, is everyone's cognition their reality? Are cognition and reality the same or different?

For the last time:
Whatever portion of reality you can perceive is what you are directly aware of.
Add to that by using instruments to extend your sense organs, and learn by communication with other people who have a greater range of sensory input,
and from the accumulated knowledge regarding the environment to which your species has added over the centuries, and by observing other species -
these are indirect data (some of which may be corrupt, incomplete or misunderstood, so it should be treated as provisional)
You process all the information you can collect and organize it into a coherent pattern:
That is then the sum of your cognitive image of the world in which you operate.
If you add conjecture, mythology, fanciful imagery, dreams, wishes, lies, mirages and delusions - then, these, too, are incorporated into your
internal image of the world. To that extent, your concept of reality is illusory.
But this remains your personal concept of reality, and does not alter reality itself -
- except to the extent that your acting upon your illusions influence the world around you.
But even if you are powerful to alter many other lives, you still don't get a whole separate and distinct reality -
reality may be interactive, but it's not amorphous or abstract.

It probably would help to point out I see cognition as the ability, or lack of it, to process information gathered by the senses.

There is no 'lack of it' until you're unconscious or dead. All functional living entities process information gathered by their sense organs.
The pattern thus created becomes their awareness of reality.
Cogitation is specifically conceptual thought, which is available only to the more convoluted brains - say, arbitrarily, frogs and up.
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Re: Perception and Reality

Post Number:#11  Postby Burning ghost » May 13th, 2017, 11:10 am

I want to point out the problem I just saw above :

"What is commonly viewed as reality is an illusion"

By this I take it you mean what we cannot perceive is reality? That is nonsense. We distinguish between reality and illusion, although the delineation may occasionally not be so obvious to everyone at the same time. If everything I perceive is an illusion then we may as well call this apparent "illusion" our "reality" right? We may as well then call black and white and shades of grey, TONE and be done with using silly terms like "white", "grey" and "black". See the problem here?

I understand that it is certainly a useful exercise of the imagination to "pretend" that nothing is "real". But the "pretending" is still a "real" pretending not a pretending of a pretending ad infinitum.

If everything is an "illusion" then everything is an "illusion". Such a view holds little practical use. What is commonly viewed as reality is our reality! Simply. Our reality also contains various optical illusions and various cognitive interpretations (some we refer to as insanity or sensory range at the fringe of the bell curve, for people who can sense electro-magnetic fields or have visual representations of smells or sounds).

If everything is an illusion then nothing is real and there is no reality. You've gotten yourself caught up in a game of language here as far as I can see. It is work of the philosopher to take great care in reconciling language to fit their ideas and express them to others. We are sadly limited to few terms that are held with any universal understanding.

We do not know the "thing-in-itself". This is a cognitive fault enforced by language and physicalist reduction used for positive sciences. To repeat again, I am me and you are you. We are not the same and cannot be each other. We are as we are only, the "we", in an each other sense, in a human community.

I seem to find people who trip over this all the time. They believe that because we see stuff and come to agree upon it to degrees, that we can come to agree upon and see it identically "as if" we were the same person. It can certainly be a tricky subject because language (used colloquially) is at odds with technical applications and flies in the face of any kind of universal meaning. The reality of "cup" is a commonly held reality applied to our thematic use of the World we are "about". Does "cup" exist or is it an "illusion"? If I use a hat as a cup is the hat then a cup? Such a question makes no sense unless the question is investigated and elaborated further (even then it might not make sense to ask such a thing - practically speaking). What these questions can do is help us take great care with language and operate more usefully between the many traps language leads us into.
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Re: Perception and Reality

Post Number:#12  Postby Consul » May 13th, 2017, 12:15 pm

Alias wrote:
Eaglerising wrote:Unlike most, I view cognition as being part of perception

That's a secondary, generally accepted, application of the word.


Not true, because there are philosophers (the most prominent one being Fred Dretske) who draw a distinction between cognitive or epistemic perception and non-cognitive or non-epistemic perception. In his book Seeing and Knowing (1969), Dretske distinguishes between epistemic seeing and non-epistemic seeing (simple seeing). For example, to simply see a cat is not necessarily to know and understand that what one sees is a cat (which requires the seer's having of the concept <cat>). That is, one can see a cat without seeing it as a cat. Likewise, one cannot only simply see things but also events or states of affairs such as a cat chasing a mouse. One can simply see a cat chasing a mouse without knowing or understanding that what one sees is a cat chasing a mouse. Simple seeing is not a cognitive or epistemic achievement; it is not the same as knowing or understanding.

-- Updated May 13th, 2017, 11:24 am to add the following --

Note that when I truly say to you "I see that there is a cat (chasing a mouse)", this implies that I do know and understand that what I see is a cat (chasing a mouse). But when I truly say about you "He sees a cat (chasing a mouse)", this doesn't imply that you know and understand that what you see is a cat (chasing a mouse).

-- Updated May 13th, 2017, 11:44 am to add the following --

Non-cognitive/non-epistemic perception can be called raw sensation, because it consists in nothing more than the having of a sense-impression or the sensing of an appearance of something. To simply see something in this sense is for a visual impression or appearance of it to be part of one's visual field.
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Re: Perception and Reality

Post Number:#13  Postby Alias » May 13th, 2017, 2:29 pm

When I said "generally accepted", I meant by regular people and dictionary-writers; I don't always keep track of philosophers.
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Re: Perception and Reality

Post Number:#14  Postby Eaglerising » May 13th, 2017, 5:21 pm

Consul What is so confusing about asking if perception and reality are one in the same or different?

-- Updated May 13th, 2017, 4:24 pm to add the following --

Burning Ghost – I am glad that responding to my post helped you to pass the time waiting for your flight. Thank you for your input.

-- Updated May 13th, 2017, 7:14 pm to add the following --

Consul –
In his book Seeing and Knowing (1969), Dretske distinguishes between epistemic seeing and non-epistemic seeing (simple seeing). For example, to simply see a cat is not necessarily to know and understand that what one sees is a cat (which requires the seer's having of the concept <cat>). That is, one can see a cat without seeing it as a cat. Likewise, one cannot only simply see things but also events or states of affairs such as a cat chasing a mouse. One can simply see a cat chasing a mouse without knowing or understanding that what one sees is a cat chasing a mouse. Simple seeing is not a cognitive or epistemic achievement; it is not the same as knowing or understanding.


I AGREE! I didn’t realize I said anything different.

Consul –
Non-cognitive/non-epistemic perception can be called raw sensation, because it consists in nothing more than the having a sense-impression or the sensing of an appearance of something. To simply see something in this sense is for a visual impression or appearance of it to be part of one's visual field.


I see that I should have been more “precise” when I said I cognition as being part of perception because it affects perception. I view “cognitive” as a person's ability to process thoughts. Including things like memory and speech. What you call raw sensation, I call data or impressions. Unlike most, I view the whole process (input to output) as being cognitive. I am concerned about the whole or overall process as opposed to naming or identifying every step of it. In other words, I like to keep it simple.
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Re: Perception and Reality

Post Number:#15  Postby Consul » May 20th, 2017, 10:25 am

Eaglerising wrote:Consul What is so confusing about asking if perception and reality are one in the same or different?


It is not clear what exactly it is that you are asking.
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