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JLIAT – James Whitehead


“If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, did it really fall?”

John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume were the primary exponents of empiricism. Responding to the continental “rationalism” most prominently defended by.. Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz

According to The Hitchhiker’s Guide, millions of years ago there was a race of hyperintelligent pandimensional beings who wanted to know about the meaning of life. To settle the issue they built a “stupendous super computer which was so amazingly intelligent that even before the data banks had been connected up it had started from ‘I think therefore I am’ and got as far as the existence of rice pudding and income tax before anyone managed to turn it off…”

Philosopher George Berkeley, in his work, A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, proposes, “But, say you, surely there is nothing easier than for me to imagine trees, for instance, in a park [. . .] and nobody by to perceive them. […] The objects of sense exist only when they are perceived; the trees therefore are in the garden [. . .] no longer than while there is somebody by to perceive them.

Webster: The production of sound requires 3 things: A source, a medium, and a receiver. The source, through vibrations called “compression” and “rarefraction”, creates a series of pressure waves that vary in frequency and amplitude. These pressure waves propagate through various mediums including water, air and solids. The receiver collects and converts these pressure waves into electrical impulses. If you remove any of the 3 requirements for sound, there is no sound.

This statement is wrong. A sound can be “produced” with only a source and a medium. The receiver merely interprets the sound. Interpretation may vary based on the individual receiving (hearing and processing) it. Thus the sound itself is not the sound made by the medium and source, it is only a perceived variation of what really occurred. Sound is a vibration of air, not a thought.

So one never hears sounds in dreams?

“Two monks were arguing about the temple flag waving in the wind. One said, “The flag moves.” The other said, “The wind moves.” They argued back and forth but could not agree.

The Sixth Ancestor said, “Gentlemen! It is not the wind that moves; it is not the flag that moves; it is your mind that moves.” The two monks were struck with awe.”

There is no underlying truth about what light “really” is. And an electron doesn’t have a definite position in space before you choose to measure it: in measuring it, you somehow oblige it to make up its mind as to where it is.

The Copenhagen interpretation (in physics) says that nothing is definitively so until an act of observation “collapses the wave-function” of the system in question (condensing, so to speak, a cloud of probability into one thing or another). If that is true, how did the universe itself begin?

(text adapted from wikipedia et al.)