Perception – Phelan

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Throughout philosophy, perception has been on the common themes as each philosopher develops their own view on what role perception plays in one life. Socrates believed that perception was deceiving and led people away from knowledge while William James believes perception is useful in the gathering of knowledge. Throughout Solaris, there were many scenes in the movie that showed people and their perception of knowledge and the reality around them. The first example of perception is during the playing of Berton’s of his testimony when he was asked to explain what he saw during the journey. His findings were then compared to what the camera caught. The scientists listened to Berton testifying and after thinking about the part speaking about the four meter tall child, they concluded that he was having hallucinations. They determined that his senses were deceiving him and he perceived images that were not real.

Later on in the movie, there is another scene where Dr. Kelvin and Dr. Snaut were speaking. Before they went to bed Dr. Snaut taped paper ruffles near the ceiling by the vent. Dr. Snaut explained that the reason he puts the papers on the vent is because he likes the sound it makes. He explains that the paper ruffles sounds like the wind blowing the leaves and gives off the impression that they are still on Earth, instead of the space journey. Towards the end of the movie, they are two scenes that involve Dr. Kelvin and his perception of reality. Dr. Kelvin needed Hari to constantly be on the space ship because he began to perceive her as an actual human being, and his dependence on her began to grow. He continued to perceive Hari as the person he once loved and this is where he discovers another perception. After spending a lot of time of this ship, Dr. Kelvin began to believe that the reason that people exist is so that they can perceive other human beings as love.

The theme of perception and its examples throughout the movie draw some interesting relations to the idea proposed by William James. James believed that all knowledge and all views of reality were based on people’s perspectives. This means that the reason people can have knowledge not just about different subjects, but also different levels of knowledge is because of their perspectives. The people that have the most perspectives about a particular subject would be considered to have more knowledge in those areas. His method also means that the truth can change if it is based on perspective and multiple people can have many different perspectives. James idea that we live in one world with many different perspectives is exemplified throughout the scenes of the movie. The way that the other doctors see Hari as oppose to Dr. Kelvin’s perception of who she has and her importance are an example of different perspectives. James also discussed that experiences can sometimes influence one’s perspective and maybe even deceive them a little. This idea is shows during the relationship of Hari and Dr. Kelvin because the more experiences they share the more his perception of her is shaped. Lastly, James talked about how the best way to come close to a unified truth is to compound as many truths as possible to make it stronger. This belief is shown in various parts of the movie. When Berton claimed that he saw a four-meter child, the doctors did not believe him. Their thoughts were defended when the camera did not capture a picture of the child throughout the whole journey. All of the doctors were on the spaceship again, and none of them had claimed to see what Berton saw is compounding more truths to attempt to get closer to one truth. Perception is not only a major part of philosophy but also an important part of people living in reality and Solaris shows how important perspectives are to certain people in acquiring knowledge.

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Perception – Phelan

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