Therefore in order for our observations to be true they must not be based on our senses only but also on reasoning. As a critical thinker, reasoning would a major step in understanding our world. However it can be argued that reasoning isn’t very accurate as it is dependent on perception! Our reasoning tends to depend on our perception of the world and our bias towards the topic. For example, a Christian examining a scientific event will probably have a different reasoning than an atheist physicist because they both have their own perception which influenced by their experience and beliefs.
So in that sense, reason is flawed just like senses are. But it could be argued that even though reason has its limit due to its dependence on culture and education, it should still be more reliable than senses. Since our education throughout the world is quite similar or at least in the western countries it is, everyone should have developed some sort of mathematical/scientific logic that would help them reason more thoroughly. And since they have that logic, they should be able to accept the limitation of their senses. Again, there is another argument against that.
Education alone is unable to create basis for people’s thoughts once it gets mixed with culture and religion. It could possibly even lead the individual to disagree with science and believe religious scripts only! In cultures where religion is a must, things like that are very likely to happen in which case logic and reasoning wouldn’t even matter to the individual. So again, even if there is such a relationship between observation through reasoning and science, is it enough to help the individual link the two different perspectives? I personally don’t agree with either perspective.
Obviously there are many knowledge issues to be explored before one can answer a question as complex as this however I believe there is another perspective that might be the solution to such problem. Going back to the question, how I think of the table and its appearance and structure would depend where I am or who am I with. If I’m seating with a group of friends I wouldn’t think of a table as empty space because in context it wouldn’t make sense. Similarly if I’m doing a scientific research on particle physics and atomic structure of object obviously I wouldn’t think of a table as one solid object.
So we this conflict between the two views; our senses define subjective truth while science tries to find an objective truth. Would be able to think both at once? I don’t know however I am more lenient on “no”. Since everything in the world is based on perception, everything can true and false at the same time. It all depends on the context. I remember I first thought of this issue when I heard my friend asking me for a completely empty cup. Once I heard the words “completely empty”, I remembered that I had previously discussed in my physics class that only a vacuum is completely empty.
I knew that the interior of the cup wasn’t a vacuum therefore it can’t be completely empty. Similarly I knew that, according to common sense and my senses, since there was nothing in the cup then that would mean that it’s empty. However there wasn’t something quite right about the situation. It suddenly occurred to me that our common sense and language created this problem. If we as kids were taught the actual meaning of each word and its scientific meaning then this issue wouldn’t occur.
If only our language was sophisticated enough to allow us to communicate better, then this problem would be non-existent. You see, it’s not that 2 areas of knowledge are at conflict with each other only but it is our common sense that is letting us down. This can be applied to the actual problem as well. We think we are seeing something solid by looking at the table because we were told, as a kid, the definition of a solid which seems to match our sensual image of it. However, we weren’t told why the objects looked like solids?
There is an actual scientific explanation for it but no one told us. It’s not the fact that our senses are completely wrong, it has to do with the fact that our senses are acting on a basis of an incomplete perception. Had our perception been different, if we knew why looked at the table and saw a solid object, if only we understood our sensory limitation and if only we comprehended our perceptual bias then such conflict wouldn’t occur. Once all that is achieved we will be able to think of a table as a solid object and empty space at the same time.