Starting Assumptions

To make a scientific description of experience, we are going to make some initial assumptions.

First Hypothesis
Theoretical physics and chemistry are based on describing just nine distinct classes of sensation.
This is quite an arbitrary start. It arises from about twenty years of introspection and vigorous discussion between the founding contributors to WikiMechanics. Other genres of description are certainly possible, and any system for descibing the sensorium is discretionary. For example, different cultures often use different color termsXlink.png and categories to describe identical visual stimulii. There are thousands of possibilities.
Second Hypothesis
The nine classes of sensation are
achromatic.jpg Achromatic Visual Sensations
Bangladeshi.GIF Organic Visual Sensations
Swedish.gif Inorganic Visual Sensations
knut.jpeg Dangerous Thermal Sensations
steam.jpg Safe Thermal Sensations
odd.jpg Somatic Sensations
souricon.jpg Sour Taste Sensations
saltyicon.jpg Salty Taste Sensations
sweeticon.jpg Sweet Taste Sensations

Moreover, any finite categorical system also introduces a bias by oversimplifying and truncating the number of primary distinctions. For example, the chromatic sensation of orangeness cannot be fundamentally grasped by a system that only recognises yellow and red as elementary sensations, some essential quality of orangeness may never be captured. Nonetheless, it is possible to understand a lot of modern physics and chemistry using just nine categories. More than nine allows for more descriptive sublety, at the cost of more messy complexity. And less than nine leads to oversimplification, loss of detail and ultimately a loss of usefulness. Some people are deaf or blind, but are anyway subject to all the usual laws of physics. This is presumably because physical law represents some kind of overall consensus about the human condition, and any individual with unusual sensory capabilities has just adapted to communal standards. This might be done by systematically substituting some personally accessible sensory distinction for one of the classes listed above. For example, a blind physicist might substitute some additional, more subtle, audible sensations in lieu of the perception of color. This sort of connection between personal and collective understandings of physics is pursued in detail in the following articles.

Right.png Next step: binary descriptions of sensation.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License