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

I know this is such a cliche question, but I started thinking about it and realized that it's actually a bit complex.

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  • Susan
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Well, you already pointed out the first thing I was going to say: Autumn did get Schroedinger's Cat experiment wrong. And for a second thing: opening the box and viewing what happens does affect the outcome in a way, but based on his experiment, it's more accurate to say that opening the box and seeing what happened cements one outcome into being. Schroedinger theorized that, until someone opened the box and saw if the cat activated the poison mechanism or not, then both outcomes were happening simultaneously, and the whole thing was in a sort of 'flux'. And while a rock would be affected by vibrations caused by the tree falling, that's not the same as saying that it would really make a 'sound'. It's only when it's interpreted in a certain way that it's actually a sound. In a small way, it's like the 'global superpositioning' theory...suppose you're the only one who hears a ball bouncing behind you. That ball, according to the theory, could actually be bouncing in a hundred different places at once, but when you turn and actually view it, then it's cemented in that one certain place. If you don't come away from quantum physics a little bit crazy, then you didn't really understand it. :P

  • 1 decade ago

    Depends how "clever" you want to be about it.

    If you ignore for a moment all the animals that may live in said forest, and ignore the fact that trees themselves are living entities then the question is not does the tree falling make a sound but does the tree exist in the first place.

    This kind of thinking though is why Einstein thought quantum physics was bunkum.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

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

    I know this is such a cliche question, but I started thinking about it and realized that it's actually a bit complex.

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  • 6 years ago

    In an honest answer I do believe that it would make a sound!The tree does not have a brain so how would it even know if a person is there to hear it! Just because an actual human being is not there to be able to hear the vibrations does not mean that they don't exist period.That is like saying that air doesn't exist in a certain place because no one is there to breath it.

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  • 5 years ago

    The tree makes a sound, because a sound consists of waves that may or may not be heard. However, the tree does not make a noise, because a noise is an unpleasant sound, and in order for a sound to be unpleasant to someone, someone needs to hear it.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think "complexity" is exactly what they were going for when they created the question. It's a paradox in a way. Technically it still makes a sound but can a sound really exist if it isn't heard?. It is a rhetorical question in every sense of the word.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well since "sound" was around before the evolution of our ears then yes, yes it does....However "sound" in this case could be something totally different to our sensory experience of it...so yeah its complex but id go for yes...due to the evolution of our ears to process the dangers that come with loud noises...if you wanna go all post modern then you could say that "sound" cant be observed from an extrasensory angle therefore cannot exist independant of the listener and so on...but yeah...it makes a sound..

  • 4 years ago

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    Yes, sound is a vibration. Just because no one is there to hear the vibration doesn't mean the vibration didn't occur. If you talk to a deaf person does it mean you're not talking because they can not hear you? Of course not. This question has always seemed absurd to me.

  • 5 years ago

    Sound is only relative to a listener. Both the sound and the listener depend on one another for their existence. Without a listener, would there be a sound?

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Depends on what you think sound is.

    If sound is the air vibration, then the answer is yes.

    If sound is only sound if it affects someone´s nervous system, then the answer is no.

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