Perception is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment.

What if our sensory perception is faked by a Matrix-like computer game designed by aliens, as NASA scientist says?

  • images: !faked sensory perception !faked sensory perception 2
    – Achmed
    May 9, 2017 at 8:56
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    You say that the role of perception is "to represent and understand the environment." What deos it mean ? We can interact with, live into, change the environment. If so, where is the problem ? Past philosophy discussed of God and of the doctrine of ‘Vision in God’ as an account of sense perception: do you really think that if instead of calling it God we call it Matrix or Alien we can make some progress ? May 9, 2017 at 9:05
  • it is incredibly easy to alter sensory perception. With drugs (such as the bean that stops your tongue registering sour) or even subtle techniques involving lighting, music etc. Such semiotics are practiced in shops for example. But what difference does it make if your conciousness resides in your body, or a huge alien supercomputer. Flowers still smell nice.
    – Richard
    May 9, 2017 at 13:03
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    All your senses are faked already. There are many many examples to show how your brain and your senses may not interpret the outside stimuli correctly. The problem with 'matrix' answers is that these postulations can lead to ad infinitum answers - which are not logical on analysis. May 10, 2017 at 5:29

1 Answer 1


I am responding to the title question: "Can sensory perception be faked?" The second question does not leave any room for a meaningful answer.


Putting aside the obvious doubts from hard skepticism, let's just focus on some everyday instances of sensory perception gone awry. As somebody else mentioned in a comment, hallucinogenic drugs cause us to experience "fake" perceptions. In fact, drugs are not always necessary to achieve this end. People with severe fevers often report experiencing vivid hallucinations, as well as people that are mentally ill.

You might say the person with paranoid personality disorder is experiencing "fake" sensory perceptions when they believe that some unseen agent is out to get them. They often hear voices, or see shadows darting around a corner; alerting them to their perceived threat.

But, perhaps you say "fake" to mean "fabricated". The answer to this is still yes, but the technology is in its infancy. Just recently my roommate purchased the Oculus Rift (a virtual reality device), and we have both spent more than a reasonable amount of time playing with it. When I play a game about fighting robots, I experience a lot of sensory perception. I see the robots, I hear the robots, I feel the guns shaking in my hand, etc. Those sensory perceptions are fabricated; carefully designed by the game makers to emulate certain expectations about fighting robots. They may not be good enough to fool me (at no point do I believe anything other than I'm playing a game).

Then again, the Matrix didn't fool everybody living in it.

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