If a tree falls in a forest

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it – does it make a sound?

So do we need the perception of a human being in order to call something a “sound”?

The first logical answer coming to the mind would be no : if no one is around to hear the tree, it cannot make a sound because a sound is something which is perceived by living beings – and if none of them is around, nothing will be perceived. Consequently: no sound.

For example, if we take a deaf person into this forest and a tree falls down, this person won’t hear the falling of a tree and thus, there is no sound to be perceived.

But as this is a well-known philosophical question, such an answer would be way too easy and one-sided.

Let’s consider the physical definition of “sound”: The vibration of air (without considering a living being to perceive this sound). This means, the sound is there no matter if there is somebody to hear it or not.

However, there are many philosophers arguing about this question although to me, the answer to this question is quite simple:

Of course, there is a sound. Although we as humans frequently think, we are the middle of the world and everything revolves only about us, this case is different. Sound is a noise which can be heard – and if it is not heard it is still a noise which means it makes sound.


This example of the tree is only a part of the big question if something can exist without being perceived. And my answer to this is consequently yes.

Comments are closed.