"If a tree falls" thought exercise

dipstick5000

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Now that I'm sober I don't sleep. While laying awake last night I was thinking about the popular thought exercise "If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?" (There was a storm, and I live in a hundred acre wood.) One might be tempted to say that one knows from experience that it of course makes a sound. Well first of all we must clarify what we mean by "nobody" or "somebody". Can "somebody" be an animal of some sort, or does it have to be a human? The answer to this determines the answer to the original question. If there are no animals or humans, there are no eardrums. If there are no eardrums, there are no sounds. The tree, or whatever it smashes into does not make a sound. Eardrums and brains working together is what makes sound. The tree falling makes variations in air pressure, which travel though the air. If an eardrum gets in the way, it vibrates. The brain turns the vibrations into sound sensations.

Somebody please argue with me. I'm not really sure about this. Also, do plants hear? I know they respond to sound (or actually, pressure waves in the air), but I don't think that they hear sounds in the traditional sense.
Tonight I'll make a game like Skyrim or Call of Duty. It'll be called Delusional.

merrak

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I think this just really comes down to how you define "sound". As a sense it wouldn't exist if noone is around to hear it. But as a wave it would exist, because physics. A mathematician would want proof that it exists.

Bombini

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I agree with merrak.
The "sound" is obviously an interpretation of your organs and and brain. Its different for an animal, for a baby, for you. This is where the magic happens. Share your interpretation with others and get inspired by how they interpret it.

Dont put too much focus on you. The tree does not care if you are there or not. You are just consuming the situation in a way you were born and learned it over the years. Have this discussion with a blind person. This might be more interesting compared to talking to us.

Cheers!

« Last Edit: December 21, 2018, 02:13:05 am by Bombini »

LIBERADO

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SOUND: Vibrations that travel through the air or another medium and can be heard when they reach a person's or animal's ear.

Those vibrations always exist, so If a tree falls in the forest, it makes a sound even though no one can hear it.

The answer is YES.
I'm spanish, excuse me for my bad English.
I'm not a private teacher. Please, post your questions in the public forum.

irock

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If there's no one around to witness a sound, nor any instruments to measure it, then we can't be 100% certain that there will be a sound when a tree falls in a forest. Every falling tree we do observe and measure, however, does make a sound, so we assume that all trees will make a sound when they fall even when we're not around. Perhaps it's possible though that an observer being present is actually a prerequisite to a sound being made, but that seems far less likely.

JeffreyDriver

  • Posts: 2076
has this tree fallen somewhere without an atmosphere?
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ceosol

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hundred acre wood
Nobody mentioned that he lives with Winnie the Pooh :(

dipstick5000

  • Posts: 23
comes down to how you define "sound". As a sense it wouldn't exist if noone is around to hear it. But as a wave it would exist, because physics

If you consult Merriam-Webster, it seems merrak is correct:
Definition of sound (Entry 1 of 7)
1a : a particular auditory impression
1b : the sensation perceived by the sense of hearing
1c : mechanical radiant energy that is transmitted by longitudinal pressure waves in a material medium (such as air) and is the objective cause of hearing

1a and 1b indicate that there must be an eardrum present for sound to exist.
1c indicates that there merely needs to be pressure waves present for sound to exist.

It seems that until we can get our act together, and we can agree on one definition of sound, it's impossible to solve the thought exercise definitively. Good discussion for insomniacs. Haven't seen Winnie the Pooh yet, but I've seen tracks and scat, and heard his mating call.
Tonight I'll make a game like Skyrim or Call of Duty. It'll be called Delusional.

dipstick5000

  • Posts: 23
has this tree fallen somewhere without an atmosphere?

Good point. Yet another variable (or "attribute" for us Stencylers).

Next up: Schrodinger's cat.
Then after that: Winnie the Pooh's mating call.

« Last Edit: December 21, 2018, 08:16:44 pm by dipstick5000 »
Tonight I'll make a game like Skyrim or Call of Duty. It'll be called Delusional.

NickamonPoppytail

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As long as there is a medium to travel through (in this case air), longitudinal sound waves are able to exist. There is therefore a sound, but if there are no eardrums to hear it, what there is is a lack of a perception of the sound. The sound was made, just nothing heard it.
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ceosol

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Then after that: Winnie the Pooh's mating call.

The whinny of a pooh bear makes it seem like a half-bear half-horse bread. That might also explain the sorrel colored fur.

If a pooh bear whinnies in a forest, does it make a sound?