We Don’t Have Five Senses

Ask most people how many senses we have and they’ll probably opt for the classical Aristotelian answer of  five: vision, hearing, touch, taste, smell.

But this is wrong.

We don’t have 5 and it’s time we came to our senses.

Okay, if your clogs are clever then you might say we have 6 senses, i.e. a sixth sense.

If you are a clever, clever clogs then you might throw into the mix ‘common’ sense.

There are those that opt for 9:

  1. Vision
  2. Hearing
  3. Smell
  4. Taste
  5. Touch
  6. Balance
  7. Temperature
  8. Proprioception (body awareness)
  9. Pain

Fair enough. But then there are those who go further and say we have 21 and some go further still and argue we have 33.

Some opt for a range of between 14 and 20.

The true number of senses is hard to come by and how many we have is hotly contested because there are differing definitions of what constitutes a sense. I know, it makes no sense.

One thing is certain though, the famous five are out of date and we need to recognise the sensory catalogue has expanded somewhat.

Vincent and Brooke Astor Professor of Physiological Psychology Carl Pfaffmann says,

Aristotle’s influence has been so enduring that many people still speak of the five senses as if there were no others.

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