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Milamber
759433.  Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:07 am Reply with quote

ok this is probably going to turn into a s*** storm of crazy but i dont agree that sound can be defined as anything other then oscillating pressure waves in a substance and here is why.

the defenition given as "a sound is when a vibration hits our ear drum" however that ISNT where we recieve the sound signal. we recieve it in the nerves of the cochlea. By the given definition deaf people can hear sounds even though they cant experience it and seeing as the point he was trying to make is that its only a sound if someone experiences it to call it a sound, that definition seems flawed.

so you have to ask then perhaps its not when the signal hits the ear drum but instead when the temperal lobe interprets the signal as sound. however this seems flawed as well because not everyone can hear the same frequencys and more importantly not everyone experiences sound equally some experience it as sight as well and others not at all and by our own language we call that "seeing sound"

In fact the only thing you can say for certain is that a sound is not a sound untill someone describes it AS a sound, before that its simply an experience of vibrations. For instance if you hit a big drum and someone can feel the ultra low and hear the higher frequencies they will call the entire experience a sound. if they just get the low frequencies they will probably call it a vibration. does this mean that in one case the ultra low frequencies are sound and then in the second case the same ultra low freqencies are not? but in the second situation someone called it a sound then what? the whole problem is just someone pointing out how ambiguous our language is.

so at the end of the day the argument is equally valid that if a tomato is eaten in a garden salad is it really a fruit. cause really its only as much a fruit or a vegitable as people call it as such. we take it as fact that its a fruit because we set down rules stating what fruit are. in the same way we set down that light is an electromagnetic wave/partical and that red is any colour with a wavelength between 630–740nm dispite the fact that some of the population cant even see red or see it as green.

my point (finally) is that the question "if there is noone there to hear it did it make a sound" is based on the ambiguity of the english language not a hyperthetical conumdrum. now in our scientific world we have actually defined scientifically and universally an accepted description of both word and phenomenon as a sound is an oscillating pressure wave. thus the ambiguity is gone and the question no longer has any relevance.

 
Psyche
760705.  Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:36 am Reply with quote

Quote:
in the same way we set down that light is an electromagnetic wave/partical and that red is any colour with a wavelength between 630–740nm dispite the fact that some of the population cant even see red or see it as green.


Woh next you'll try to tell me colour actually exists as a property of an object. :D

Admittedly I know more about the visual system then the auditory system but I kind of wanted to point out that calling it more of a problem in the ambiguity of the English language is somewhat reductionist. That we can interpret what we perceive with any consistency at all is incredible and I certainly wouldn't try to suppose that when perception is concerned, any body has any definite ideas about how it all works. The general consensus (in neuroscience at least and in physics depending on the physicist you talk to) is that "sound" relies on something that can experience the physical stimulus. It's much the same as vision. I once asked my lecturer what objects looked like (in terms of colour) when no one could see them and was told it was kind of silly because again, for something to look like something, it relies on something being able to visually interpret it.

Anyway, my point is that it's not irrelevant because although you are right when you say language is a problem it's not the only problem. (Actually there's another line of research you may have heard of about the evolution of language and colour). Anyway, it's such a beautiful scientific question about how people are able to perceive and interpret the world which gets glossed over a little bit because the concepts are so weird.

 
zomgmouse
760707.  Wed Nov 17, 2010 1:11 am Reply with quote

What about other senses? Do things not have a taste, smell or feel until they reach our mouths, noses or skin respectively? Or is it unfair to compare different senses?

 
Milamber
761770.  Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:03 am Reply with quote

the difference here is that we dont see vision. and we dont taste a taste. we see light and we taste chemicals we touch solid objects and we hear sound. essentially meaning that by your definitions the tree doesnt exist at all untill someone sees it, feels it, whatever.

hearing, sight, touch, taste, smell; these are words we use to describe the senses we use to gather information about whats going on around us not for the actual things the senses are sensing.

however we do say that light still exists whether we see it or not and the tree is physical whether we touch it or not. the same is true of sound. its not like we ask if noone is there to smell it does urine produce amonia vapor.

you have to consider the fact that whether we directly or indirectly sense an object or in fact not sence it at all the object has an effect on its surroundings in a way that could at some point effect our sences like a natural golberg machine. say the tree falls and the sound loosens the seed of another tree which falls and produces a third tree which then falls onto some poor bugger who happens to be walking past 50 years later.
the ocillating preasuure wave has had to exist or that couldnt happen...and we call that pressure wave a sound.

there is NO circumstance in this modern era where any normal person or in any scientific language would not discribe that interaction as a sound (both of which are the final judges of language) where maybe back when the question was first posed it might have been different it is no longer relevant.

also sound can only exist as a physical experience of something. in fact sound needs something else to exist at all. be it air or water or steel or jelly something is being effected by the sound or the sound cannot exist. so if a tree falls from space but hasnt hit the atmosphere (or anything else) yet to does not in fact make a sound. other then that it does.

and thats actually a good point. if a tree is falling towards nothing ...is it technically falling? its a more relevant question because the definition of the word falling is (unlike the difinition of sound) actually quite vague. falling i would sayy requires gravity but could you not then say that the earth falls towards the tree as much as the tree falls towards the earth?

 
RLDavies
761961.  Tue Nov 23, 2010 6:35 am Reply with quote

Milamber wrote:
the difference here is that we dont see vision. and we dont taste a taste. we see light and we taste chemicals we touch solid objects and we hear sound.

We see light, smell and taste chemicals, and hear vibration. The light, chemicals, and vibration exist whether or not there's anything to sense them. But the sight, smell, taste, and sound don't exist until these physical manifestations are encoded within a nervous system.

The same goes for texture, it's just that we don't have much vocabulary of texture. An object has small protuberances on its surface, and this physical phenomenon isn't the same thing as the feeling of roughness.

 
mckeonj
761972.  Tue Nov 23, 2010 6:52 am Reply with quote

When the tree fell in the forest, it was heard by an elephant which was standing in a nearby clearing. Later, five blind men wandered into the clearing and encountered the elephant.
Guess what happened next?

 
gruff5
761978.  Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:01 am Reply with quote

One of them started blubbing and Ben Fogle put his arm around his shoulder to keep his spirits up?

 
Milamber
762192.  Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:34 am Reply with quote

RLDavies wrote:
We see light, smell and taste chemicals, and hear vibration. The light, chemicals, and vibration exist whether or not there's anything to sense them. But the sight, smell, taste, and sound don't exist until these physical manifestations are encoded within a nervous system.

The same goes for texture, it's just that we don't have much vocabulary of texture. An object has small protuberances on its surface, and this physical phenomenon isn't the same thing as the feeling of roughness.


"sight, smell, taste" all have double meanings you can use them to describe the sensation or the act of sensing. for instance you can say that you "view a sight" and we have a sence of sight but we do not have a "sence of sound" we have a "sence of hearing" instead which can "hear a sound"

we can also see texture whether its there or not its a very abstract word texture, we use texture descriptions for anything from touch to a colour landscape to a persons personality to the qualities of a sound. however we only use "sound" to describe one thing and one thing alone.

also a sound and a vibration are different. a vibration is defined as repeating motion about a central point. be that transverse or longitudal or both the motion has to have a central neutral point. a sound however is an ocillating pressure wave. to be defined as such it must propagate through something and must be a sequence of high pressure and low pressure so they must be longatudal because transverse waves do not create that condition they create an up down/left right not a squeeze release.

And sure you can say we hear the vibration of the ear drum that is caused by the sound but then as i stated in my first post we get to a point where we are arguing (and in fact already are) about the intricate definitions of words and not of the problem itself.

the question itself is purely a question about the relationship between the word "hear" and the word "sound" it simply asks "do you need to hear something to call it a sound or are the 2 words seperable"

we now have a scientific and solid definition of what a sound is that is now seperate from the concept of hearing the problem is about the ambiguity of our language which we have now eliminated in the case of sound therefor the question is irrelivant.

 
aTao
762194.  Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:04 am Reply with quote

Quote:
he question itself is purely a question about the relationship between the word "hear" and the word "sound" it simply asks "do you need to hear something to call it a sound or are the 2 words seperable"


Not quite true, as originally posed. the question was about reality and can be re-written as:

"If a tree falls in a forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound or does the tree even exist?"
There may well be subjective experience that indicates that there was a standing tree the day before the fall and a fallen tree the day after. There may be sufficient evidence to convince someone that they are the same trees, but there is no evidence, or experience that the tree fell or made a sound when it did. Our concept of reality states that it must be the same tree and indeed make one hell of a crash when it fell, but its only our concept.

 
Milamber
762220.  Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:59 am Reply with quote

well if you want to add some serious levels of Schrödinger's cat into the equation thats technically true. however that relys on the fact that you cannot perfectly measure any 2 moments of due to quantum uncertainty because if you could you could reconstruct from the before and after all the steps in between to the Nth degree.

however large quantities of our time and energy is spent on working backwards from things we record the before and after of. its the entire purpose of the large hadron collider and we can learn a huge amount about how things happen from our observations of things for the way the universe is now tells us a great deal about the big bang.

also the question as you state it becomes hugely theoretical in terms of physics. for instance if you look away hear the sound turn back and the tree will be down your not sure if that tree and the sound are connected. but if you see the tree fall and hear the sound you still dont know for 100% sure that the 3 things are connected.

in fact no matter what you do you can never be sure that the universe actually existed before the moment that you are experiencing right now.

so the question on all levels becomes something like this.
"do you need to hear something to call it a sound" - no because the word sound unlike hear has a definition outside of animal sensing
"does sound as a concept of the things we hear exist without someone to hear it." - maybe years ago when the question was posed but like the last question we now have a definition for what a sound is and the sound will have an effect on the rest of the world recardless of if someone concious is there to hear it directly and in some way someone or something will experience the repercussions of the sound later on. also the question of where the line stops in terms of where pressure wave becomes the electrical signal we interpret as sound is vague to the point where we can hear something without it actually ever being physical.
"if you didnt record the tree fall in some way as it happened how do you know it happened at all" - well by that logic...(see first part of post)

 
aTao
762236.  Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:39 am Reply with quote

You have still missed the point. It is not about semantics or science, it concerns the very nature of reality.

The question has been adopted by some Zen theologians as a koan. If you were an student to one of these masters any discussion of word definitions or physics would be met with a swift thwap about the ear with a "teaching cane".
Buddhists have a concept that may help, which is that perceived reality is a day dream, that is an experience that is as invalid as a night dream but due to the fact that we spend more time developing the day dream it is more coherent.

So, no, I dont want to bring any cats into this no matter who owned them.

 
Milamber
762252.  Wed Nov 24, 2010 6:02 am Reply with quote

im fully aware of how buddests think of things but the question was not posed by a buddest it was posed by george berkeley and while the wording is different his point of view is a question on whether anything exists that is not percieved.

to which the answer is yes it does because all matter and energy is connected in a system because while the object itself may or may not be "in existance" in your mind (as berkeley would put it) the world that created the object, all the events in time leading up to the object and the ramifications of the objects existance are evident down the track.

you may not ever directly know the tree ever existed but the same set of circumstances that put the tree there put you there and whether you know it or not at some point the trees falling is going to have an indirect or direct effect on your life and your senses.

 
mckeonj
762282.  Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:25 am Reply with quote

The simplest rule of punctuation is to put the comma where you would take a breath if you were speaking what you write.

The simplest rule of punctuation is to put the comma where you would take a breath, if you were speaking what you write.

The purpose of the comma is to clarify the meaning if you see what I mean.

The purpose of the comma is to clarify the meaning, if you see what I mean.

 
'yorz
765342.  Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:48 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
The simplest rule of punctuation is to put the comma where you would take a breath if you were speaking what you write.


That doesn't count for the weather people on the telly, because they just rant on till they run out of breath, which is rarely at the end of a sentence; in fact, they rather do it halfway through. Not pretty to listen to.

 
the orange in the dark
854597.  Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:42 am Reply with quote

This reminds me of a discusion on another forum where the question was put "what colour is an orange in the dark"
There was never a definitive answer

It can be looked at here
http://www2b.abc.net.au/science/k2/stn-old/

but be warned the debate started in june 99 and is still unresolved and you will need about 3 days to read it all

 

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