TED Conversations

Sophie Rand

Student Engineering, The Cooper Union For The Advancement of Science and Art

TEDCRED 50+

This conversation is closed.

Can we ever know how another person "senses" the world?

In my Bioelectricity class this week, we learned about the cells
in our body that help us sense our environment: chemosensors in our
tongue that help us sense taste, for example, the photoreceptors in
our eye that sense light, and the hair cells in our ears that sense
the mechanical vibrations of sound, to name a few.

As a result, I recently revisited my answer to the age-old question of
“how do I know that the blue I see is the same blue you see?” that was
so startling and exciting to most 3rd graders playing baby Kierkegaard
a little bit differently. An answer could be that we just have to
trust that perception is guided by biology and that humans are
biologically identical to within 80% of our biological systems.

This answer, of course, raises new questions: even if you and I may
perceive the same blue, is that blue "real?" Where does sensation
leave off and perception begin, and how may we trust ourselves as we
try to compare them? Can we ever know how another person "senses" the
world? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Feb 18 2012: I think isn´t possible understand how sense other person the same situation. Each person have particular and very small differences in each of his five senses than others.That result in a whole different and exclusive perception.

    Moreover than the "physical" differences in one of each sense, we must to include the difference "mental" interpretations from our physical senses report us. If we mix that it´s impossible that two different people have exactly the same perception from same situation.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.