Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

The sixth sense: balance

  1. Dec 5, 2008 #1


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    The senses are, in a nutshell, methods by which we gather information about the outside world.

    I've never understood why balance is not considered a sixth sense. It is a way that we gather information about the outside world that is unique from the other senses. It tells us which way is down.

    The fact that our sense of balance is located in our ear is irrelevant - the ear is merely an organ.

    The fact that balance uses tiny hairs and grains to do its sensing doesn't subsume it under touch. The hairs are not touching anything external. It seems to me a sense should be defined by the type of information it gathers, not by the implementation.

    Is my logic flawed?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 5, 2008 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    There is no "five senses", scientifically. That's just something Aristotle came up with that people still use because it's convenient for laypeople to remember. Scientists recognize that there are many more than that.

    We have had other threads on the subject (though it has been a while). You can do a search.
  4. Dec 5, 2008 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Right. I guess I was relying on a grade school definition of the senses. Some reading is in order.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook