Anonymous asked in Society & CultureMythology & Folklore · 1 decade ago

if a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it does it make a sound?

my son and i are having a debate about this. what if you put a tape recorder in the woods. does the tree falling make a sound. one of us says yes because the tape recorder would record the sound. the other says still says no. what do you think?

15 Answers

  • Favorite Answer

    Just because no one is in the woods doesn't mean things suddenly stop making sounds.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Like others have said already, it's simple physics. It's not a sound until it is perceived by the brain. Throwing a tape recorder in the mix is rediculous but the sound would become audiable because the sound waves are converted by a receptor but you wouldn't hear it until it is played back. So the sound would be recorded by the tape recorder but until somebody is around to play the recording it doesn't make a sound. So if a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make sound? No, it doesnt. Sound is a matter of perception. Stop arguing with your son = )

  • 1 decade ago

    Yes, it makes a sound. Don't take my word for it. Ask lumberjacks whether trees make a sound when they fall - They'll say 'yes' every time. Go and stand in the woods and listen to trees (or at least branches) falling - They always make a noise. If they always make a noise then they'll do it whether or not anyone is there to hear it. If you put a tape recorder in the woods, it would record the sound of any trees or branches falling within its recording range. Definitely.

  • Erin
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Basic physics. In order for there to be a sound, there must be a transmitter (tree hitting the ground), a conductor (air) and a receiver (ear or tape recorder). If any one of these things is missing, there is no sound.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Yes, it doesn't make sound. There is no sound as long as there is no observer. When a tree falls it make vibrations those vibrations are sound in the ears of the observer. Sound is a sensation. So when there is no receiver to this sensation then it's no longer a sensation. Vibrations take forms ( sound, image, smell, etc.) depending on the nature of actions and the organs receiving those vibrations.

    Creation doesn't need to be observed to exist. Existence, Universe and Nature don't cease their movements; movements based on energy and vibrations. When we receive those vibrations under the forms we receive them, it doesn't mean that they are this way (in nature and universe ) just because we receive them that way through our senses.

    Nice question

  • 1 decade ago

    Short answer. No.

    When a tree, or anything, falls, and when it impacts, it sets up vibrations in the air. Sound is what a person's mind interprets these vibrations as being.

    Think of it this way. If no one is looking at a painting, it still exists, but, it's nothing more than a bunch of smears of colored stuff on a wall. When a person looks at it, their mind integrates it into a coherent whole, and interprets it as a work of art.

  • KayKay
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    of course it would make a sound. If all sounds only happened in your ears range the rest of the world would be silent. Oh and the trees make a LOUD noise falling

  • 1 decade ago

    Technically you aren't around to hear it but in a way you are because of the tape recorder. The tape recorder ruins the purpose of the debate of NO ONE being able to hear it. There for it is not bound by the rules of the question. Because technically you hear the sound.

    But yes, it does....

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I've heard the question many years ago and then, as now, I say that the tree and the forrest don't know if anyone is around or not. So they make the same noise every time, just in case someone has snuck up on them. If that doesn't work for you, just rely on common sense.

  • 1 decade ago

    um... i've been told no.

    see, sound is made by vibration in your bones. so if a tree falls and no one hears it, it might not make a sound.

    i've argued that u might be able to prove it by hiding a video camera, but i don't know if that would work.

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