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Do our eyes show us the truth or, does our eyesight contrive for us some approximation? Can we even show that what we experience is more than a belief, even as much as an approximation?

If I feel the ground beneath me then, does it exist? So, I theorise that something exists and, I call it the ground. But, have I felt or is it just that my expectation is met?

Keep in mind that, outside of your own existence, you can't really "prove" anything at all, even that there is an outside reality. So there is no fundamental truth. It's all belief. – barrycarter Mar 28 at 18:48

I realise that there seems to be a question of perception here but, what I am in fact asking is a question of philosophy. The underlying question is, "What is reality?", however, I am trying to be a bit more specific as you can see from the way that the question in total is framed. Taking one or two paragraphs only you may be misled as to my intention.

  • But why are you sure that only eyes and eyes at all do not show the truth? Moreover why do you think eyes are showing something at all? You might want read something about common sense. – rus9384 Apr 1 '18 at 3:22
  • It's not a question for a quick answer. We cannot show that experience is more than a belief. Seeing things is not a proof since we may be dreaming etc. Your final comment is incorrect since knowing truth does not depend on there being an 'outside reality'. Indeed, the mystics say our ability to know truth extends to knowing there is no such thing. – PeterJ Apr 1 '18 at 12:16
  • No, they do not. Truth is something that applies to propositions, what our eyes "show" us is merely images. They are incapable of being either true or false, they just are. Judgments based on perceptions are distinct from perceptions themselves, we may see a red thing with eyes, but seeing that thing as red requires a lot more than eyes, a conceptual apparatus with a concept of red in it. Could you edit the question to make it more objectively answerable, currently it merely invites personal opinions on reliability of perception. – Conifold Apr 2 '18 at 20:55
  • @Conifold You will notice that in the second part of the first sentence I used the term eyesight for just that reason. I have added to the question in the hope that it makes my intention in asking clearer. – Willtech Apr 2 '18 at 21:36
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What is truth?

According to the modern truth concept due to Tarski truth denotes a property of statements:

A statement is true if the facts exists to which the statement refers.

Example: The statement "Presently it rains outside my house" is true if and only if it rains. Therefore one distinguishes between facts, i.e. what is real, and statements about facts. Facts are not true or false, they exist or they do not exist. Only statements are true or false.

A second question asks how to determine whether a statement is true:

That's an epistemic question. In daily life it's often sufficient to open the eyes and to look at the facts. We have also learned to beware of misconception etc. But in most cases percecption is not an adequate means, in particular concerning facts in the past or in the future.

Also mathematical statements cannot be verified by just reading the statement. Our eyes do not show us whether a mathematical statement is true or false. Here we need reflection, logical analysis and a whole set of mental capabilities.

Concerning your final quote from barrycarter I would change the last word "belief" to "hypothesis". I would add that's possible to falsify a hypothesis and to replace it by a better hypothesis and so on:

We err upwards (Gerhard Vollmer)

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Behind the eye is the mind; and it is the mind together with the eye that we see. Take for example, a TV showing a news programme. We see there a man looking directly at us talking. But we know, even though he is looking directly at us, that he is not; it's an illusion. When we see a real man sitting before us talking we note immediately that he is looking at us, and we know straight-away this is no illusion.

Kants theory of mind takes off from here, in that the mind synthesises concepts by which we interpret the world that we see.

It's also perhaps useful to note that Tiresias, the prophet of Apollo who was famous for clairvoyance was blind. Clairvoyance, by the way, is French for clear sightedness. He famously warns Oedipus in the play Oedipus Rex by Sophocles not to push forward with his enquiries after calamity strikes his city; but Oedipus does not listen and this leads on to tragedy; the mythic notion behind this is that insight into the affairs of gods and men is found through insight and not merely from observation; note too, the word 'insight' - this is sight coming from within and not without - and conventionally understood as being more profound.

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Eyesight has physical, biological and psychological aspects, all of which can distort truth.

So eyesight is not perfect. Same for all your other senses. Even thought itself is subject to several known biases easily shown in experiments (most easily calculation mistakes in maths), same for memory.

You cannot prove/show anything beyond your existence, as an individual.

By debating with other humans about their perceptions, many perception errors that are possible to the individual can be uncovered by comparison of experiences. It is still possible for groups of human to jointly have a wrong perception. Adding humans to the group with a different cultural background can reveal cultural biases.

By using tools and artificial agents (computers, sensors, robots) to the mix, you can further eliminate many sources of errors.

But some errors can remain even after objectifying observation with the help of others.

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Do our eyes show us the truth or, does our eyesight contrive for us some approximation?

'The truth' means: The real facts about a situation, event, or person.

You could ask yourself why we have more sense organs if our eyes can show the truth. If a man's eye could show as if he were looking through a concave lens or convex lens or a compound microscope, which one would you say, is true? what would be your conclusion..?

So, the answer to the first part of this question is,'No'; but the second part is, 'Yes'. For an explanation, you needn't seek the help of philosophy. Just remember the optical illusion, 'persistence of vision'. Many philosophies also agree with this ideas. E.g.: 'Maya'. Though this term is used in a higher level, any way we can say that the second part is true.

Can we even show that what we experience is more than a belief, even as much as an approximation?

In the minutest level everyone's world or the 'world' created by everyone's mind is different. That is why we can't understand others fully. So, it is an approximation.

If I feel the ground beneath me then, does it exist? So, I theorize that something exists and, I call it the ground. But, have I felt or is it just that my expectation is met?

We cannot say that what one feels is true. Others also must be able to know/feel that; now or later in their life.

Keep in mind that, outside of your own existence, you can't really "prove" anything at all, even that there is an outside reality. So there is no fundamental truth. It's all belief.

We can't say sugar is sweet or there is a taste called sweetness until we taste it. Others also won't agree with it unless they also taste it. Most people might even scold such people who talk about the sweetness of sugar. Likewise, "There is no fundamental truth. It's all belief"-- this (the last part) is a false belief. This last statement is not true in the case of the Ultimate truth.

See the Bhagavad Gita 13.18

If these verses are true most of us must be in darkness. That is the reason for our such belief.

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Absolutely not; not even close. Your brain's job is to lie to you constantly, and it's very good at it. Sense data (such as light arriving at your eyes) is first heavily processed by neural networks before reaching the higher parts of the brain to reduce the information to the most useful parts (motion and change, for example, are likely to be more useful than static detail). Then the brain's job is to weave these sense data into a narrative most useful for your survival. Truth is relevant only insofar as it serves your fitness to survive and reproduce. Whatever tricks of perception kept your ancestors alive are the ones we're stuck with today.

That's why there are thousands of books and films filled with "illusions". They should be called "brain failures".

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