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We See and Understand Things Not as They Are but as We Are

Human minds shape the world where an experience of the reality is limited or enhanced by human’s cultural beliefs. In this case, we see and understand our world from what can be formed in our minds. Based on this ‘ways of knowing’ generally we refer to the deductive way of questioning what it really implies or means to recognize or know something. It can be argued that, empiricism and rationalism as ways of knowing emphasize that awareness comes up from logic of experience. In this case, rationalism states that thoughts or ideas are formed from reason alone while in empiricism they are formed from senses alone.

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Based on this, empiricism asserts how knowledge and proof function particularly in sensory insight in the shaping of thoughts, while discounting the concept of inborn ideas. From this, humans form ideas in their minds as to what they think should be; and give evidences for that (Cohen 57-123).

According to the empiricist observation, for any information to be appropriately inferred or assumed, it needs to be gained eventually from an individual’s sense-based awareness. For instance we can describe an orange fruit as orange in color, sweet and juicy from what we can see. In this case, from the knowledge we have about colors and sweetness; we shape ideas in our minds when we see an orange.

From this statement, we see and comprehend orange fruits as from what we can get from them and not what they are. As far as empiricism is concerned, our senses form ideas of what things are like. For example in our above instance, the senses of taste and sight help us to form our thoughts that, the fruit is an orange and not a lemon. Reasonably, we believe what we see are what results to the ideas of empiricism making sense (Kerlinger 24-58).

It can be argued that, in order to understand certain things in the world; we frequently experience it actually. After this, our personal set of ideologies dictates how we see things in the world. In this case, from the experience we have gained; we form ideas of the world. This is evident from what the early empiricist philosophers believed; that the human brain was a ‘tabula rasa’; meaning that it was empty.

Based on this, an individual could not assess anything in seclusion or shape natural ideas without gaining knowledge. From this it can be deduced that, we see things from the experience we have gained and not as what they are. It can be argued further that, since we perceive what we believe; we also believe what we perceive according to Spinoza and Leibniz. In this case, what we have an awareness of; forms what we see and the vise versa. For instance, in the technical dominion of things we evaluate and differentiate the situation of the sun and the earth in the universe from what we have an experience of.

Based on this, our experiences dictate our way of seeing things since the earth might not be the one which rotates around the sun; but our minds are set by the knowledge we gain that the earth rotates around the sun and not the vise versa. In another case, neither love nor religious faith can be observed openly, but people believe in them since it is likely for them to see the world in the course of what they accept as true (Kerlinger 24-58).

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On the other hand the second way of knowing is through emotion which is described as the ‘frame of mind, personality, character, nature and motivation’. In this case, what an individual frames in his mind tends to influence his way of seeing things. For instance, individuals who stress on constructive things and are usually idealist are said to ‘see the world through rose-tinted glasses’. In this case, the frame of mind an individual has; influences his way of seeing things by adjusting the action of the visual perspective (Kerlinger 24-58).

It can be argued that, when one is in a good mood he sees things more optimistically, than when he is in a bad mood. In this case it can be said that one’s character forms ideas in his minds about how things are. For instance, when one is motivated by a thing he will see the thing optimistically. Further, good frames of mind help us to see things from a more comprehensive or integrative viewpoint, resulting to taking more information of the thing than when in a bad mood. In this case, when one is in a good mood he sees thing in a wider range of dimensions and understands them more as compared to one in a bad mood.

On the other hand, motivation affects the way we see things where a student who is motivated in a certain course perceives the course simpler than that which he is not motivated in. In this case, motivations form ideas in our minds about what we see; whether interesting or humiliating. Additionally, motivation influences our cognitive developments influencing what an apprentice pays more concentration on, and how successfully he progress with it. In this example, a motivated student frequently makes an intensive attempt to really comprehend classroom materials in order to study them significantly (DeChardin 134-145).

Additionally, in the case where one is frightened by something let’s say an animal; he will think and take an action in a way that guarantees his security even though in the real sense it is not essential. Another example of how emotions affect our way of seeing things is in love. In this case an affiliation between two people might not in all ways be excellent, but because of the lover’s emotions they view it as excellent (Cohen 57-123).

On the other hand, what we recognize and observe is based on the sensory impersonations and manifestations; which might vary with the actualities in the world. In this case, our perceptions largely influence our comprehension of things. For instance, a blind person cannot comprehend red or violet; the same way a person having vision power does; since the blind person can not comprehend the notion of color.

From this, it can be deduced that every perception is an understanding in the light of our prospects and background knowledge; but actuality still subsist despite the fact that we cannot see it openly. Based on this it can be argued that, things usually portray what they are in themselves; despite our seeing them as ‘things- for-us’ (Buchler 23-47).

Further it can be argued that, culture through our languages affects the way we see things. In this case, culture is a way of knowing which affects our perception of things; people of different cultures see things differently as dictated by their respective cultures. For instance, in a culture where knowledge acquisition is encouraged; people’s perception of the world is different from what the reality is. Based on this, these people may see thing as per their experiences and not what actually the things are (Belenky et. al. 25-56).

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In conclusion, from the above discussions of the ways of knowing and the varied methods of achieving knowledge and experience; cognitive formations of who we are dictate how we see things.

Works cited

Belenky, Mary., Clinchy, Blythe., Goldberger, Nancy, and Tarule, Jill. “Women’s Ways of knowing”: The development of self, voice and mind, 10th edition. New York: Basic Books. (1997): 25-56.

Buchler, Justus. (Ed.). “Philosophical writings of Peirce”. New York: Dover Publications. (1995): 23-47.

Cohen, Morris., & Nagel, Ernest. “An introduction to logic and scientific method”. New York: Harcourt (2007): 57-123.

DeChardin, Pierre. “The phenomena of man”. New York: HarperCollins. (1969): 134-145.

Kerlinger, Fred. “Foundations of behavioral research”. New York: Holt, Reinhart & Winston Press.1973: 24-58.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 19). We See and Understand Things Not as They Are but as We Are.

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StudyCorgi. "We See and Understand Things Not as They Are but as We Are." December 19, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "We See and Understand Things Not as They Are but as We Are." December 19, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'We See and Understand Things Not as They Are but as We Are'. 19 December.

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