If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it,

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If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

yes
120
66%
no
63
34%
 
Total votes: 183

Prothero
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Re: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear

Post by Prothero » June 26th, 2017, 11:10 pm

60 pages and 900 posts and still no consensus. This question (like many philosophy questions) is one of definitions. Is the vibration of air molecules a sound? What sorts of Livings systems or organisms are capable of hearing sound? Only humans? other higher creatures? insects that sense vibrations? etc.

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LuckyR
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Re: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear

Post by LuckyR » June 27th, 2017, 2:34 am

Darksideoftheworld wrote:I think you are looking at this from a too scientific point of view. As humans are nature is to only be aware of what happens to us or something that happens to another that could then effect us as ourselves. And as such self centered creatures in doesn't make sense for us to care about a sound that a member of our species doesn't hear. SO my answer is no that tree doesn't make a sound.

PS: people who made the scientific argument of "sound is the comprehension of the vibration of molecules in the human head" I said in a very very sarcastic voice, I would say that should there be an animal in that forest then that animal would have the comprehension to hear the sound so their would be a sound...just fyi
I don't have a problem with your analysis, though one could use the term "potential sound" to describe your findings.
"As usual... it depends."

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Magicpotion
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Re: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear

Post by Magicpotion » July 2nd, 2017, 6:09 am

It's a matter of perspective.

How you define 'hear' and 'sound' in particular make all the difference.

If you define 'sound' in an objective sense - the physical vibration of air molecules, then yes, the tree falling makes a 'sound' regardless of whether a human listener is in there to hear it.

If you define 'sound' in a subjective sense - the personal experience of hearing the tree fall, then no, because no one is around to experience the sound, it cannot be perceived, cannot be registered, cannot be recognised or sensed as a 'sound'.

If you define 'hear' in an objective sense - auditory stimuli presented to your aural faculties, then no, if no one is around to 'hear' it, it cannot be perceived and so cannot be recognised as 'sound'.

If you define 'hear' in a subjective sense - the personal qualia of aural sense perception, then yes, even if you aren't in the proximity to 'hear' the tree fall, the event still makes a 'sound'.

It depends on your definition.

I'm of the opinion that yes, it does still make a 'sound' regardless of my conscious experience of it.

How you define these things is a matter of personal experience and depending on whether you have an egocentric worldview (self-to-object) or an allocentric worldview (object-to-object) will determine your judgment.

Of course you could break this down further into the nature of sense perception itself - where it originates from: all in the mind or in interaction with the outside world?

I wonder if you left a video camera by a tree that was about to fall and caught it on film, whether that would count as not being 'around' to 'hear' it? (assuming the sound was captured)

Some questions to consider:

Do vibrations that never reach a human ear count as 'sounds'?

If a light was left on in a room and no one was around to see it, did it still light the room?

If the big-bang occurred but no one was around to experience it, did it still happen?

If you can imagine your favourite song right now, does it count as a 'sound'?
Is this a 'perception' or a 'thought' or a 'figment of your imagination' or something that you perceive to be in between hearing and sound?
And if that imagined 'sound' never makes it out of your auditory cortex, is it really a sound? Can you really hear it?

NicoL
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Re: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear

Post by NicoL » July 3rd, 2017, 11:14 am

No event occurred whereby a particular person had a subjective experience of sound, but all the circumstances for such an event to occur obtained. The counterfactual statement "if there was an observer nearby at that moment, he would have heard a sound of a specific kind" is plausibly true, and what makes it true other than the fact that there was a sound? In true reductionist spirit, you can say it is true in virtue of the physical sound waves that were produced by the tree hitting the ground, but then, if you want to be consistent, you should forget about subjective sound-qualia altogether: even indicative statements like "I can hear a sound right now" are not true in virtue of there being sounds. They are all true in virtue of the physical sound waves and your biological apparatus.

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Present awareness
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Re: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear

Post by Present awareness » July 3rd, 2017, 9:34 pm

The only reason the universe exists at all (for me) is because I'm here to experience it. Prior to my birth, it mattered not, how many billions of years went by. An attempt to separate subject from object, fails, because there is no separation. The question is really asking, what happens to the universe, when I die and I'm no longer here to experience it? The good news is, we will all find out eventually, because nobody gets out of here alive.
Even though you can see me, I might not be here.

NicoL
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Re: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear

Post by NicoL » July 5th, 2017, 10:56 am

Present awareness wrote:The only reason the universe exists at all (for me) is because I'm here to experience it. Prior to my birth, it mattered not, how many billions of years went by. An attempt to separate subject from object, fails, because there is no separation. The question is really asking, what happens to the universe, when I die and I'm no longer here to experience it? The good news is, we will all find out eventually, because nobody gets out of here alive.
What happens when you are asleep?

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Sayso
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Re: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear

Post by Sayso » July 14th, 2017, 3:19 pm

Since we say, "Don't make a sound!" We can suppose the mundane meaning of "sound" is what is caused, and that is the vibrations.

But the original issue here, I believe, has to do with theories of perception. Theories of perception were originally, of course, just part of philosophy. Whether we perceive actual, existing things and events versus whether we "perceive" "sense data" is the issue. Without a subject to bring them into existence--presumably in parallel with actual, existing, external things--there would be no sense data correlating to the vibrations caused by the tree's decent.

So, if you believe perceiving is being conscious of "sense data," you would hold there was no sound. And otherwise, otherwise.

To Nicol: I think you'll find you can't explain what you mean by "experience" and still believe that your experience brings the world into "existence."

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Noobe-Noobe
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Re: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear

Post by Noobe-Noobe » September 19th, 2017, 7:50 pm

If we talk about a tree, then yes. However it is a scientific fact (in quantum physics) that things act differently when there is an observer and where there is not one soo...yeeah..

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LuckyR
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Re: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear

Post by LuckyR » September 21st, 2017, 11:12 am

Noobe-Noobe wrote:If we talk about a tree, then yes. However it is a scientific fact (in quantum physics) that things act differently when there is an observer and where there is not one soo...yeeah..
OK so the tree falls quantumly differently with and without an observer. But is there a sound? (Dumb question/thread, I know, but there you have it).

Why there are more than 20 posts in this thread baffles me.
"As usual... it depends."

Steve3007
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Re: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear

Post by Steve3007 » September 21st, 2017, 6:34 pm

I think the tree exists in a superposition of fallen/not-fallen states. Or something.
Why there are more than 20 posts in this thread baffles me.
That's a curiously specific number of posts at which to start being baffled.

Anyway, the number of posts that a topic attracts is inversely proportional to the profundity of the OP. That's why hardly any of the topics that I start get any posts, with the result that they also exist in a superposition of states.
For evil views to flourish, it only requires good people to say nothing.

Speedyj1992
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Re:

Post by Speedyj1992 » October 4th, 2017, 2:20 pm

Stev7467 wrote:Of course it does. Lets not make this any harder than it is. Just because no one is around to experience it dosnt mean that the physics change.
Yup. I'm with you 100% on this.

Rainman
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Re: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear

Post by Rainman » October 18th, 2017, 1:11 pm

If every living creature in the Universe with the ability to detect sound (including plants) somehow disappeared and a tree fell in a forest, the sound waves would still have an effect on other matter (like rocks). So, if sound waves can have an effect on a rock...is that considered "hearing"? Can a rock hear sound? Gotta love our imprecise language. Fun to think about this while eating my cheerios.

Chili
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Re: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear

Post by Chili » October 18th, 2017, 5:29 pm

The answer for an individual is best defined by what they consider an adequate test.

Jan Sand
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Re: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear

Post by Jan Sand » November 11th, 2017, 4:37 am

If there is a forest wherein a tree falls and no one is aware of it then does the forest exist if no one knows of it? What do you know of the word "exist"?

Burning ghost
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Re: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear

Post by Burning ghost » November 14th, 2017, 4:19 am

GROOT!!!!!!!!!!
AKA badgerjelly

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