Sunday, August 27, 2023

Do the Senses "Distort"?

Some time back I was having a conversation with a colleague of mine. Our discussion started touching on philosophical topics and it was clear on the surface, at least up to a point, that my colleague agreed with my points about foundational principles and the need to govern our reasoning by facts and to steer our inferences by rational principles. He expressed strong agreement with these points, but suddenly made the remark in passing, “Yes, the senses do distort, but…”

There I stopped him and asked him to explain this. He seemed taken aback by my challenge, as though it were self-evident that the senses “distort,” as though the recognition that the senses “distort” were unimpeachably true. After querying him on this assumption, it started to become clear that he really did not have an argument for this premise, but he also did not demonstrate any willingness to reconsider it.