I do not consider myself religious, but I have come to know Mathematics as my way of looking at the universe. I seem to have come to the (premature?) conclusion that it is the most developed way we have to explore the semantic contents of our universe without need of sensory input. Recently though, I have begun questioning whether or not that is actually possible.
Does a system such as Mathematics, inasmuch as a heuristic for developing formal systems in a rigorous manner by way of axiomatic construction, rely on sensory experience for the conclusions we draw? Furthermore, would it even be possible for a living person who had never experienced sensation to have thoughts and explore the internal nature of their own minds? Would they ever be able to conjecture about the "outside" world?
The only possible way I can think of so far is that a sensory mute would have to learn what language was internally. They would still be equipped with all of the necessary cortexes in their brain for producing such feedback, so perhaps they could create a language based upon controlled hallucination. I still don't know whether or not their thoughts would resemble our own though, and I feel without a neuropsychological approach it would be very hard to discern the answer.
Does anyone know of research that has been done in this area?