6.2: How reliable is our perception and understanding of ‘reality’?
In a nutshell
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In a nutshell - Text version
- By thinking critically we aim to arrive at the truth. But how reliable is our perception of the ‘reality’ which contains or reflects this truth?
- We are embodied beings who receive primary data about the world through our senses.
- Perceiving, imagining and representing these data are complex processes which often lead to problems in making meaning.
- The contemporary film The Matrix, and Plato’s ancient Allegory of the Cave both address these issues around perception, reality and knowledge.
- Effective critical thinkers acknowledge that they may be deluded by obstacles to truth of which they are not aware.
- One way to deal with this is to always specify which aspect, level or perspective of the object we are trying to describe and understand.
- Hoping to move moving beyond belief, opinion and speculation, we need to be adept at recognizing the limiting (and enabling) frames of our perception and understanding.
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