If a Tree Falls in the Forest…

The question: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Argument: Yes.

Sound is what can be perceived by a living organism through its sense of hearing.[1] Physically, sound is vibrational mechanical energy that propagates through matter as a wave.

Given that the definition of sound is both physical and perceptual, one could assume that since the (perceived) non-perceiving world still reacts to the physical, a sound is “heard” because the waves move through matter, in turn affecting the matter it reaches.

If in fact the argument is larger in meaning, such as “Can something exist without being perceived?” one really would have to be omniscient because it presumes that either things cannot exist without our perception of it (egotistical) or things happen regardless of perception. One cannot presume to know what happens when one is not around. Therefore the question is a conundrum.

Silence could be a matter of sheer perception, but the vibrational mechanical energy propagating through matter still exists and that same matter is not silent as it affects the matter through which it moves. Silence is the absence of sound. If sound has both the perceptual and physical meanings, then the physical meaning alone dictates that anything producing these waves is not silent.

Furthermore if the universe has sound, it is not silent. In fact the universe is noisy. Given that waves are produced by moving objects, the universe is full of various waves in addition to the objects occupying space creating them. The infinite amount of waves creates noise or static or white light. Therefore with its infinite amount of physical waves, the universe is noisy.