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a tree in the forest.


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21 replies to this topic

#1 Ploper

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 11:12 PM

If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?
The obvious answer would be yes.
But I argue that it doesn't.
Sure, there would be a TON of vibrations.
But our ears convert vibrations into sound.
So if our ears aren't there to convert it.
There wouldn't be any sound
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#2 Linzd21

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 11:40 PM

a deaf person cannot hear sound but it doesn't mean that sound isn't there. and they are called sound waves not just waves. which is why we don't hear light. a sound wave is a sound travelling. a light wave is light traveling.
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#3 PDR

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Posted 04 December 2007 - 12:04 AM

If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?


I assume you meant "...and no one was there to hear it..."

Wikipedia says...
"Sound is generally known as vibrational transmission of mechanical energy that propagates through matter as a wave (through fluids as a compression wave, and through solids as both compression and shear waves) that is audibly perceived by a living organism through its sense of hearing." [url:8b0be]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound[/url]

And since it's pretty darn unlikely that a forest has no living organisms with a sense of hearing to audibly perceive the waves, I'd say yes, it does make a sound - not sure how to prove it though....

cogito ergo sum
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#4 Ploper

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Posted 04 December 2007 - 12:19 AM

whoops, I did mean if no one's arond to hear it.
And yeah, I couldn't imagine a forest without any organisms
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#5 Martini

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Posted 04 December 2007 - 07:36 AM

It depends on your preferred definition of sound. If it's the one that PDR provided from the Wikipedia article, then no, there is no sound since that definition requires that there be a transmission of mechanical energy to a living organism with some sort of hearing capability.

If we look at the first two entries for sound in the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, the answer to your question is no if you prefer the first definition and yes if the second:

sound:

1. the sensation produced by stimulation of the organs of hearing by vibrations transmitted through the air or other medium.
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.


In short, the answer is dependent upon semantics.
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#6 Ploper

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 12:48 AM

well,
I always love hearing I wasn't completely wrong
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#7 niserino

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 07:45 PM

I always felt this riddle was thought up originally by a lumberjack. If no one is around to hear it would the tree fall at all?
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#8 Writersblock

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 06:22 AM

A dead tree would fall.

The orginal configuration of this proposition predated the concept that Mankind was somehow animalistic and also was prior to the discovery of the concept of sound waves. Therefore, the proposition that a different animal could discern the sound waves or that sound waves were part of the question didn't occur to the ancient propositioner. More modern examples say "and no animal were around to hear it" - thus getting back to the point of the question, which is a entry into discussion between perception and reality. If you observe X, is it real? (What about hallucination or illusion?) What about things that you can't observe? Are they real? (Thus the tree in the lonely forest.) How far does one affect the other? At all? Does reality depend upon perception at all? What if 100% of all people exactly mis-perceive an event the wrong way? Say they all saw and report X, when really Y happened? Which is reality? Would any of the people believe you if you reported Y? How could you prove it as reality?
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#9 bonanova

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Posted 24 December 2007 - 06:37 AM

If you can say that there was a tree in the forest, without an observer there to confirm it;
If you can say that the tree fell, without an observer to confirm it;
I will say with equal certainty that it made a sound, without an observer to confirm it.

Corollary question:

If a man speaks in the forest, and there is no woman there to hear him, is he still wrong?
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The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.
- Bertrand Russell

#10 unreality

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Posted 25 December 2007 - 06:04 PM

hehe
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