'Reality' v Our 'Perceptions' (or Neurology Strikes Back)

Discussion in 'The Science Forum' started by Excognito, Dec 27, 2010.

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  1. There have been some potentially interesting sub-discussions on the nature of reality versus our perceptions of reality.

    There are several instances of people not bearing in mind Korzybski's principle that the map is not the territory; the colour v em radiation debate is a good example of this.

    I thought it might be of interest to some to have a thread in support of this topic ... not that any of you really exist, of course :)
  2. rampant

    rampant LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    and of course the continual debate of whether time is a fundamental extant structure or whether or not it is in fact a human construct; Time extant and time experienced: Time - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  3. Gogi...I am still here...I think... :)

    I'm defo up for this but may be forced to rely on your background knowledge to help with a couple of pre-cursors.

    Is the perception of taste...bitter, sweet, sour, raspberry, banana, chocolate etc...handled by the brain in the same way as colour? As for smells...the same must apply?

    How about sound?... sound waves of certain frequencies can be detected and identified by the brain...can this be compared with colour perception in any way? I have heard it said that some people can hear in colours...

    Is perception learned or innate?.........I'm genuinely interested. The 'map territory' looked wrong to me... Pain for example can be seen in the brain...MRI technology. The weight and size of a stone dropped on ones foot also conveys fairly accurate information about it ......but if nerves are damaged then pain is not felt or seen to register...although with eyes open one can see the impact of the rock.
  4. Here's a new one from 'Perspective/Universe' thread

    Both the following ...
    are in response to ...
    I specifically wrapped quote marks around the word 'reality' in the hope that you might pick up that I was, given the context, talking about what we perceive to be reality as opposed to whatever reality is. Furthermore, I said 'brain' not 'humanity' - social construction of reality is another layer of the game and one that I don't have much feel for.

    The brain constructs what your 'consciousness' sees, hears, feels, tastes, etc. A good example of this is 'colour'; AFASCT, colour is not an intrinsic physical attribute of any object external to ourselves and the brain is quite capable of generating colour illusions. Similarly, whilst a falling tree may generate atmospheric pressure waves, there is no 'sound' without a conscious mind to interpret those waves as such.

    You kick a solid stone in your Johnsonian fashion, yet that stone is composed of atoms that are virtually empty (in terms of the classical particle picture) thus refuting the very concept of solidity and which is further undermined by the concept of quantum tunnelling.

    As for the technology being far ahead of the state of the art ... have a look at artificial retinas, eg this site or artificial cochlea, eg this

    Looks like that ZX-81 is overkill :twisted:


    AFAIAATSCTATM - As Far As I Am Aware That Science Can Tell At The Moment

    Thanks for the pointer; I will look up what Susan Greenfield has to say on the subject - although the concept is blindingly obvious once one finds out what neurons do.
  5. I would refer you back to this Mary's room - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and also ... Qualia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  6. This is my kind of territory. I have never studied any of this stuff, but find that many of the thoughts I had as a child or a teenager, later turned out to have been the subject of philosophical debate, such as the whole 'is the colour I see, the colour you see?' and 'how do I know I exist?' soul searching.

    It is a bit too late in the evening to write at any length on the remaining questions, but tomorrow is another day; or is it just the same day conveniently segmented by humans so we can understand it better? Maybe time doesn't even exist and all things are happening simultaneously but experienced sequentially.
  7. Caecilius

    Caecilius LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Excognito, I'm itching to respond but I'm looking at this on my phone and I want to use a real keyboard to write a coherent reply. Wait out.
  8. rampant

    rampant LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Bugged the crap out of me that one, talk about existential uncertainty at the age of 10.

    Also brings in the issue of Synesthesia: The Synesthetic Experience
  9. I only have my phone so also dont want to type out a detailed reply, but some of the agnosias are interesting in the de ate of perception. Angosognosia is one of the most interesting IMO.

    Although what I took issue with in the previous thread was the assertion that our reality is an illusion and that we have technology that can manipulate our perception from the neuronal level (discounting drugs, TMS etc) upwards.
  10. I imagine that each sensation will be handled in a different, yet similar, manner. 'something' in our brains appears to do some processing on the information it receives from the nerves and somehow generates the things we perceive as 'colour', 'taste','pain', etc, plus all of the internal emotions and thoughts. Amazingly, it then somehow integrates all of these things together to produce a coherent, unified conscious experience whereby I hear the sounds of a piano played by Myleene Klass, interpret the sounds as the Adagio Sostenuto from Beethoven's Op 27 Nr 2, have emotions related to that piece evoked, see her playing said instrument and note the consequent effects on my parasympathetic system. And I have no idea whatsoever how this is achieved, what these sensations are in terms of physics or even how much space my consciousness occupies.

    There's a whole host of interesting questions out there that we have very little in the way of hard facts about to start forming scientific answers. Why do we perceive colour the way we do? Why don't we perceive 'sound' in a similar fashion? Why do the senses appear in the forms they do? What other forms might there be? Et sim for emotions. How is that I can think visually in parallel but verbal thought appears linear? What is 'meaning'? - it's clearly not just a set of words as the 'meaning' of words has to be learned.

    All a functional MRI is doing is telling you some of the bits of the brain that are involved but it doesn't show actual 'pain', any more than probing a radio circuit with a voltmeter is showing radio waves.
  11. I didn't assert that reality was an illusion (but who knows? I don't know what reality is any more than the next imaginary person). What I was asserting is that what we experience about reality is an illusion; it's a construct and doesn't show things as they 'are' - eg, most of us have seen a rainbow yet it doesn't physically exist (at our normal level of thinking about reality) and that flag isn't 'really' red.

    'etc'? Well, I suppose you can discount everything if you want. It won't reflect the reality I live in, but, by all means, feel free. The simple fact is that we can manipulate our perception of reality by several technological means and some of the more direct forms, such as stimulating sensory nerves, appear to be well within our technological grasp

    Sometime (and probably in the not-too-distant future), we'll be able to skip all this PC/Mobile Phone nonsense and have processing/comms technology embedded within us and directly linked to our nervous system, by, say, stimulation of the sensory nerves or (later, I imagine) by cutting out the middle-men and connecting to the higher level cognitive areas. The possibilities are endless - if the Really Personal Computer can shut down monoamine production and induce atonia, then you could immerse yourself in a BattleSim and feel as if you were really running or pulling that trigger. The question is, when Windows NS gets locked up, how will you be able to tell that you're not stuck in ARRSESim 2100? How can you tell you're not now? :twisted:
  12. Nehustan

    Nehustan On ROPs

    When did we get a science forum...missed that! My input to the thread as demonstrative of realism contra idealism is the Philosophy 101 rhetorical question 'If a tree falls in a wood without an ear to hear, does it make a sound?'
  13. Yes :)

    edit: I'm think I'm too grounded in physiology & biology to enjoy abstract conversations - sorry :) although some of the mapping/territory stuff on this thread is interesting, and it's not stuff I've really come across before.