I think perhaps we’ve set the bar too low to the level of flip/flop = computer and the rest are “just combinations”.

most (all?) of these senses listed *do* have physical causes that _eventually_ will be traceable.

Maybe it’s a particular configuration of chemicals squirting around in the brain that give rise to each distinctly.

Maybe it’s the same in all people, maybe it’s different.

Worth investigating. Consider an analogy: The computer is just pulses. Flip/flop.

No more needs to be said right? Flip/Flip. 5 senses (I think it’s more like 11 though).

But from those building blocks comes improbably systems that operate from such basic support systems and once the systems are in place (perhaps they’re already innate? I don’t know), our interpretations of such senses affects our decision making and comprehension of the world.

I think perhaps we’ve set the bar too low to the level of flip/flop = computer and the rest are “just combinations”.


I *probably* have synesthesia. Not the numbers-floating thing, but going by what people have said about me through the years, my senses are combined differently than most people apparently.

I’m still skeptical. I’m just normal to me.

But could it be a novel sense? Does my hearing+music+math+texture (or whatever combo it is) = another sense?

I think it is. My attention is drawn to different things than a lot of people. I point things out that regular people don’t notice.

At the same time, there’s things clearly obvious to others (certain aspects of social cues) that I just don’t have. I’m probably aspie or something akin to that. I have long lists of rules I have to go through to interpret social cues. I’ve gotten really good at it, but it’s taxing.

Are these senses? I don’t see why not.

I think perhaps it’s our measuring tools that have defined the limitations of what a sense is.

Imagine this: Imagine all sciences were brought down to the level of biology.

Suddenly, you can’t call something psychological or imaginary or fictional. There’s a biological root to it.

So, you have to determine the biological root of “How does man measure fear?”

Sound? Smell? Taste? Touch? Vision? Sense of balance? Sense of place?

Fear doesn’t originate or terminate at the outer shell of the human body. Does that make it less of a valid sense biologically?


Yes, but here look: I touch something, I get a response. I enter a situation and “feel fear”. What’s that sense?

Both are biological. One is more complicated.


I made a graphic a year ago. I made it in an overdramatic fashion as that’s what I like to do. What I did is use the Gene Ontology, poured through it to find EVERYTHING that is considered part of our neurological system processes, not just for HUMANS but for all life on earth.

This includes neurological system processes that humans don’t seem to have but other creatures do.

Stepping back for a moment away from the OP, even if one was to use *these* as building blocks for constructing “What is a sense of fear?” it’s *still* a lot better than taste/touch/smell/hearing/vision.



It’s a fair point you make but where I’m thinking is “are the sciences heading in the right direction?”

If one is striving to get to a biological basis for “all things human”, sense of humor *is* something worth dealing with, for example.

We currently categorize such things as “psychology”. But, let’s eliminate psychology altogether.

What do we do now? Can’t ignore it because there’s not a one-to-one relationship between electrical impulse and brain activity.

These things are important, even life and death. We’ve gone past grade-school categories in CogSci. Eventually psychology will be subsumed into biology. Can’t just say it’s “personality” anymore at that point because a firm biological basis will be required.



This becomes even *more* critical in the development of AI. If we continue to treat senses as we have historically, we’ll get those unfeeling, uncaring AI that Hawking and Musk wrote about.

But we won’t. Programmers are more than aware that sense of touch and sense of social appropriateness for example need to be treated with the SAME level of importance for a proper human-like machine.

Limit it to the traditional 5 senses (or 11 – I don’t remember the current number), and you have a recipe for a problem.


Here Can you do this? Replace “sense” with “neurological system processes”.

Does my argument sound less deepity?


Better still, of what practical purpose does it serve to restrain the definition of sense to a limited set of neurological system processes?


The spock like unfeeling developers *is* bullshit _but_ the fear of “ai taking over” (because of this notion that ‘a conscience can’t be programmed’ (which of course it can and must and is!) – *is* something strong in the public eye, including some prominent folks who really should know better than that.

I understand the distinction of course between identifiable sense organs “senses” and the variety of other things that refer to as senses as well.

The reason why an expansion of the breadth of the terminology to include (in most instances) all things that we regularly refer to as sense commonly is valuable and not just the 5 (plus the others – this also has a complete list although I did not refer to this when I constructed my own list as I wanted to ‘see it fresh from the Gene Ontology https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sense ) – is:

it can eventually eliminate psychology by treating these emotional states and such as not “merely biological” but fully biological, measurable, treatable if diseased.

Consider the power of this to the treatment of mental illness for example.

There’s no more “crazy in the head”. There’s no more “stupid”. Rather there’s illnesses and sicknesses to senses that can be treated and managed by a proper health care system, rather than set aside as “optional”, or seen by many as fantasy or not worth while.

I suppose in the end, I’m advocating.

The limiting usage of sense=sense organs will still be useful in some circumstances but even that will start to fade. Imagine DNA sources for temperament are discovered (or hypothesized) within a number of species – say, between humans and rats and perhaps even bacterial colonies.

Sounds strange? It really shouldn’t. I think a lot of we currently think of as anthropomorphizing the emotional states of non-humans *will* turn out to have a tangible genetic basis, leading to proper explanations for differences in temperament, whether it’s a ‘bad dog’ or a ‘bad human’.

But as long as these things stay in the realm of psychology, where you have sense organs vs cognitive processes vs psychology vs morality all in separate silos, I think we’ll be limiting potential breakthroughs in comprehending just how little of “us” is uniquely human and how much is truly a reality across a large variety of earth species.


Call it deepity if you like but I see no reason we couldn’t eventually have the parallel processes shared among all life forms mapped out, including what we currently refer to as emotional states or feelings.

Perhaps I take the physicality of things too seriously and so it makes me sound like i have my head in the clouds. But I’m still working on explaining “how I see things” while I simultaneously work it out for myself.



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