Discussion in 'Serious Discussion' started by sid_16, Jun 8, 2012.
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it then does it make any sound?
This is another crazy question from a skeptic. I would like to say; the tree did fall but there will be no sound. Sound is a feeling generated in the mind when vibration of air molecules are detected and interpreted by a brain. Sound is not a physical entity but a feeling. In the absence of an entity which can translate air waves to sound only air waves will exist not the sound.
What is your answer?
If a tree falls, don't try to catch it.
And in relation to your question: The definition of sound, simplified, is a hearable noise. The tree will make a sound, even if nobody heard it. The definition states that sound is a hearable noise. So the tree could have been heard, though nobody was around to do so.
Just like you exist, even when no one can see you.
Yes it does, use inductive reasoning.
If we go with basic answer then it is No, because the definition of sound is "something that you hear." No one's there to hear the tree fall, so the tree doesn't make a sound. This answer is valid as long as no details are observed technically.and if we go with the answer is that in physics the creation of sound wavs in a medium constitutes making a sound or noise. In the smaller definition that a sound can only be present if it is heard, the question only postulates the absence of sentient (human) receptors. The existence of hearing animals in a forest environment would be anticipated/ Therefor the sound would have been heard and even under the more limited definition (strickly physics) there would have been a sound.
Sound (noise) is mechanical energy and is physically real. A source of sound can (will) make the sound whether we are there to hear it or not. Or whether we can hear it or not. That's more of a "physics" answer, but it is a "real" as anything you are likely to encounter.
One way to find out would be to rig a chainsaw so it can remotely cut down a tree. Then rig a recording device. Hook it all up to a relay that is hooked up to the ringer of a cell phone, get out of the forest and call the cell phone.
Then retrieve the audio and see if it picked up anything. If it did, then it does make a sound.
There are a lot of meanings for 'sound' at dictionary.com. If we go by 1. the sensation produced by stimulation of the organs of hearing by vibrations transmitted through the air or other medium then there will not be any sound as long as there are no conscious being around endowed with ear (or ear-like) systems of hearing. If we go by 2. mechanical vibrations transmitted through an elastic medium, traveling in air at a speed of approximately 1087 ft. (331 m) per second at sea level then there will be unperceived sound in the form of waves.
If you understood the above, you have only to accept that only the agreements between the observers are relevant, nothing else. Physical phenomena exist, but their perception depends on our sensation! I'm sid_16 and you're Mazrim Taim , we don't see each other but interact in this MDL forums and we have to trust each other existence, otherwise nothing (me/you) exists!
Please check these links, problems of induction and falsifiability
Kant's experience and reality .
This one wouldn't even be confusing if it was just semantics. Would it? I've always assumed there is a little bit of Schrodinger's cat mixed here.
I would like to put this in a different way. When I switch on my radio I hear music. Was the music present in my room before I switched on the radio? One can say it was present in the form of electromagnetic waves. But electromagnetic waves are not music until it is converted to sound by the radio.
In the case of the fallen tree the observer is the radio. There is no sound until he converts the vibrations to what we call sound.
Excuse me sir, the sound vibrations are created when the tree falls. They are there whether you are there to hear them or not, assuming the tree does fall. The ear does not create anything, it simply receives what is there.
The answer depends on which illusion seems to be more real / probable to you
1. the idea of sound without auditory sensation: Then yes
2. the idea of sound with auditory sensation only: Then no.
Tree and sound are illusionary in any way, because both are products of the mind.
Another example: Do one need to listen to music to 'enjoy' music, or can one remind of a song?
Which song is more real? The one that is reminded or the one I listen to?
Both happens in the mind.
The song in your mind is an imprint of the one you heard so you are simply recalling a previous experience.
Simply put, can you recall a song you never heard ?
Let me give another example sir.
If you are hit by a stone you will feel pain. But instead of you if the stone hits a wall, the wall cannot feel any pain. So the pain was not a part of the stone; it is a feeling in a conscious mind. Same way the wall cannot see or hear because it does not have the mechanism to convert vibrations to feelings
Our senses are our way of interpreting certain physical phenomenon of the universe to help us survive. They cause sensations in our brain which we call by different names like, sound, light, pain, taste smell etc. In the absence of conscious beings only the phenomenon which causes those sensations will be present. Sensations are not physical entities but electro chemical reactions in the brain. Air waves are not sound and photons are not light etc.
For convenience of communication we call the audible range of air waves as sound and the visible range of photons as light. In reality they are just vibrations of certain frequency range.
Perception is not at all limited to witnessing an event at the time of its occurrence. Perception is all we can experience in any sense. Here we are talking about no experience at all. If you cannot experience something how would you even know or think that the thing is there or an event happened.
The very concept of reality or world the way we see it, begins with our experience. And for the nuclear explosion, you will be informed by the other observers (I mean any type of news/ broadcast), and you have to trust them, otherwise nothing exists! Sound is not energy! It is the feeling and the construct of the brain and infrasonic waves exist but not sound!
You have missed the point entirely and thus you have the flawed analogy and you describing how people hear, anyone who went through primary school can tell you how we hear. That was not the point ! The issue was the repercussions of an event, as I said before use inductive reasoning and you will get the answer. Let me put it this way:
1) We all know what a tree is ...
2) We all know how noise is produced.
3) We have observed falling trees.
4) Therefore, most likely when the tree falls it will produce sounds even if our ear is not there to translate the vibrations into sound.
Here is another example, if I put on a kettle of water on the stove and go and sit in front the tv will the water boil even though I am not watching it ? Why does the kettle whistle after a certain time even though I am not watching? Everything around us is bound by rules and they follow those rules whether we observe them or not. We simply don't know or understand all the rules present in the Universe. When we do, if possible, everything will be clearer.
I have chosen this other example because there is the same difference:
Listen to music: auditory sensation
Recall a song: no auditory sensation
Both in common: There is a song in the mind. Character: Illusionary
This means yes and no are valid answers in a illusionary world.
The topic fits very well in a philosophical aspect.
Every physicist who is a genius has also a philosophical aspect when thinking.
1. Answer yes:
Cause and effect. Cause: A falling tree. Effect: sound
So both events are connected. This means whenever a tree falls there will be a sound, no matter if somebody is perceiving it (sensation). So there is a valid idea of sound in one’s mind.
2. Answer no:
A sound must be perceived in any way.
The sound of the falling tree is a pure idea. So there is no sound. Each sound has a unique bunch of frequencies. No falling tree will ever have exactly the same sound.
Nobody has perceived the particular sound of this tree in the PRESENT and hence there is no sound. The sound does not exist.
Both ways are illusionary. Way 1 is even a higher grade of illusion, because there is no present
perception through senses.
In Reality the one (thinker), tree and sound are the same. The multiplication of objects is made by the mind.
“Simply put, can you recall a song you never heard ?”
But I can have a song in my mind which nobody ever has heard before not even myself. How else one might compose a new song?
And I can have the sound of a falling tree in my mind even though no tree is falling.