How well do you know the back of your hand?

Image: Solipsist (Wikipedia)

Of all the many and varied objects we encounter in the world, we would ordinarily presume that we know none better than our own body. Descartes describes his pre-theoretical view of himself and his state of knowledge in Meditation 2: “As regarded the body, I did not even doubt of its nature, but thought I distinctly knew it”. However, new research reported on the BBC suggests that we do not accurately represent that most familiar of objects half as accurately as we might think. In fact, the evidence suggest that our conception of our own body is systematically misleading.

Neuroscientists at University College London set up an experiment as follows. Subjects would place a hand flat on a table. The experimenter would then cover the hand with a board, and ask the volunteer to indicate where they thought certain key points of their hand – fingertips, knuckles and joints – were located Continue reading “How well do you know the back of your hand?”

FREE Syllabus: The Ins and Outs of Introspection

FREE PDFTeaching & Learning Guide for: The Ins and Outs of Introspection
By Philip Robbins, University of Missouri-Columbia (July 2008)


Section: Naturalistic Philosophy
Philosophy, Naturalistic Philosophy
Key Topics:
perception, representation, belief

(See all Philosophy Compass Teaching & Learning Guides‘)