The Sense Of Perception : William P. Alston Essay

The Sense Of Perception : William P. Alston Essay

Length: 1024 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

William P. Alston, a professor of philosophy at Syracuse University, discusses in his essay “Perceiving God” the sense of perception: “the experience, or… the perception, of God plays an epistemic role with respect to beliefs about the physical world” (Alston 431). Alston continues to justify his position “that the very considerable incidence of putative perception of God creates a certain initial presumption that these experiences are what they seem to be and that something can thereby be learned about God” (Alston 432). Alston’s argument is that the perception of God is enough to justify your belief that He exists because of the similarity between your senses and how you perceive God (431-432).
Alston’s argument is both fideistic (relying on faith and not reason) and inductive. In his thesis, he alludes to the fact that a person must have an experience first before they can trust the perception. The experience, which would normally be a religious experience, must occur before the faith in God’s existence comes about. It is this experience that changes a person’s point of view. This is an illustration of Existentialism. It is based on experience from oneself. It is also known as a “leap of faith.” The rest of Alston’s arguments are structured around objections in the form of analogies (431-437).
Some examples of objections that Alston uses are compelling. Objections I and III are both double standards. One set of guidelines may apply to one thing, but not to the other. For example, a leather recliner in the room is black. A person senses allow this knowledge. It does not have to be justified or explained. If someone acknowledges that they have had an “experience” of God with their senses, they must prove this. So sensing that th...


... middle of paper ...


...are unrealistic requirements for people that have a religious experience:
I have sought to show that various plausible-sounding objections to this position depend on the use of a double standard or reflect arbitrary epistemic chauvinism. They involve subjecting RE to inappropriate standards. Once we appreciate these points, we can see the strength of the case for RE as one more epistemically autonomous practice of belief formation and source of justification (Alston 437).
There is no reason to doubt the senses. If a person cannot believe what their senses are telling them, they would continually doubt their perceptual experience. We have continual experiences through the senses, and they are interpreted with standard interpretations. Empirical evidence from our senses should be enough to justify a religious experience. It’s a double standard that should be changed.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Perception And Perception Of Perception Essay

- Perception is defined as the awareness of the world through the use of the five senses, but the concept of perception is often used to isolate one person’s point of view, so how reliable can perception be if no one person’s is exactly the same. The word perception itself is riddled with different, well, perceptions of its meaning. When some hear the word they might automatically think of it as something innately flawed, that can easily be fooled by illusions, while others may think of its usefulness when avoiding scalding a hand on a hot stove....   [tags: Perception, Sense, Mind, Psychology]

Better Essays
1835 words (5.2 pages)

Sense Perception Essay

- 'We see and understand things not as they are but as we are' Christopher Columbus, in the 1440’s on his voyage to America, saw three mermaids and described them as insight of females who rose from the sea. Did Christopher Columbus Imagine the mermaids because he was interested in fantasies or did he actual see it. On one hand I do believe that we understand and see things not as they are but as we are, on the other hand disagree with this statement. The way we view things reflects on our personality and each of our personality is different and some people also have similar personality....   [tags: Perception]

Better Essays
1175 words (3.4 pages)

Essay The Sense Of Sound Perception

- Each person has five senses organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin) that take in information from your environment and send it to your brain. Your brain then processes the information and tells your body how to respond. Your nervous system is responsible for ignoring unnecessary data. Sight is the capability of the eyes to focus and detect images, hearing or audition is the sense of sound perception, taste refers to the capability to detect the taste of substances such as food, smell refers to the capability of detecting odors and touch responds to pressure receptors....   [tags: Eye, Retina, Sense, Ear]

Better Essays
1341 words (3.8 pages)

Perception Is The Second Stage Of Perception Essay

- ... I have carried these rituals through to adulthood although many times were falling short of my understanding of the ideal family in my mind. My mother and father didn’t argue in front of us, and it wasn’t until married that I realized married people do argue and argue a lot about different issues they don’t agree on, one of the biggest perceptions is my personal experience from my childhood is fear. It was a life changing tragic event when I was eleven years old, and I will spend the rest of my life perceiving life from that time....   [tags: Perception, Mind, Sense, Psychology]

Better Essays
1090 words (3.1 pages)

Essay on Perception Is The Process Of Perception

- ... Asch has also stated that by individualising a characteristic from the person, we associate other traits similar to that one, to them (Hogg & Vaughn, 2005). The configural model relates to my misjudgement of Jake as I singled out his central traits of rude and passive behaviour and based my impression of him from this, causing me to create a negative image of Jake in my mind. Naturally, from here I relate similar characteristics such as rebellious and mean to him also. By analysing this idea of Asch’s, it has become clear that the configural model is a way in which I approached my view of Jake....   [tags: Perception, Mind, Sense, Psychology]

Better Essays
1396 words (4 pages)

Analysis Of The Paper ' Two Cheers For Mystery ' By William Alston

- The paper, Two Cheers for Mystery by William Alston provides an interesting read on a potentially alternate theistic view. Alston’s intentions for writing this piece was to introduce the Devine Mystery Theory and provide detailed reasons on why it should be accepted as valid. Alston provides four supporting arguments and additional evidence to back his point. After reading the piece, I think that he provides a substantial amount of evidence for Devine Mystery Theory to at least be considered to be an alternative theistic view....   [tags: God, Omniscience, Theism, Universe]

Better Essays
1374 words (3.9 pages)

Perception Of The World Of Perception Essay

- Before diving into the world of perception, I wasn’t aware of how differently the world is perceived by different humans and different animals. While researching for this paper, I witnessed first hand how different various perceptions could be. Like most Americans on Sundays, my family and I were sitting by the Christmas tree and enjoying a game. During the game, I remember how differently my mother and I reacted to Russell Wilson getting tackled by the opposing team. While I believed that Wilson took one of the worst hits he had all game, my mother at the same time said that she believed the hit wasn’t that bad....   [tags: Perception, Sense, Sensory system, Illusion]

Better Essays
1828 words (5.2 pages)

What Are Senses? A Sense Of Sound Perception Essays

- What are senses. A sense is how our bodies perceive external stimuli. The human body has five main senses; sight, touch, smell, taste, and hearing. Sight, also known as vision is the ability of the eye or both eyes to focus on and detect images of light on photoreceptors found in the retina of each eye that generate electrical nerve impulses for different colors, hues, and brightness levels. The eyes contain rods and cones found in the retina. These rods and cones are receptors for color and light....   [tags: Sense, Olfaction, Taste, Sensory system]

Better Essays
1050 words (3 pages)

The, Perception, And Attention Essay examples

- Sensation, perception, and attention are essential to our interpretation of the world around us. They are especially important when working in a team-oriented environment that cannot meet face-to-face. Our team conducted a dialogue on our individual preferences for auditory stimuli, dichotic listening, and divided attention in order to better work better as a group. This helped us form a set of rules that will allow us to give our full attention to our work when working as a team. Without our basic senses, we would be unable to communicate to the outside world as our perception of the world would be significantly altered....   [tags: Sense, Perception, Sensory system]

Better Essays
1378 words (3.9 pages)

My Own Sense Of Sight Essay

- ... I have heard it said in the media that a person without sight will possess heightened senses. Until I began this project, it had never crossed my mind to question why this might be. I found that when I did not have my sense of sight all of my other senses began to work in overdrive in order to interpret and understand what was happening in my environment. Undoubtedly, I became more aware of the things I could take in. When “blind” each stimulus I encountered was a hint as to the conditions I was exposed to; tastes, smells, sounds, and being able to feel changes in the tension of my friend’s arm as she reacted to the things I could not....   [tags: Sense, Perception, Hearing, Sound]

Better Essays
1461 words (4.2 pages)