Saturday, April 7, 2012

[PHI 3000] If a tree falls in the forest...

Nobody hears.
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

George: No, it doesn't.

Bill: Yes, it does.

Do George and Bill have a genuine disagreement or a merely verbal dispute?


  1. This is an example of verbal dispute.
    George and Bill do not have the same understanding of the word 'sound'.
    For George, the definition of sound is "vibrations that travel through the air or another medium and can be heard when they reach a person's or animal's ear."
    And since there was no one around to hear the 'sound', it didn't make a sound.
    However, for Bill, even if no one is around to hear, we all know that when a tree falls, it must make a sound. So, he believes that it made a sound even when there was no one around it.

    A genuine disagreement would be if George and Bill both had the same concept about a certain fact, but had different point of view and opinions.

    -Nury Kim

  2. I believe it is just a verbal dispute as well.
    A verbal dispute is defined as: "the appearance of disagreement between parties who have not resolved the ambiguity of one or more key terms." (
    The key term in this dispute is sound. Both George and Bill are understanding the definition of sound differently. George has to be able to physically hear the sound discussed in order for it to be considered sound. He needs him or someone else to be able to hear those vibrations and he's not just making an assumption without the proof.
    Bill is going off his past experiences when he answers the question. He's heard a tree fall before so he is making an educated guess that even when no one is around the tree must make a sound like it has in the past. His definition of sound is something that does make a noise, but it does not have to be confirmed by someone being there because it has happened before. There is no one to witness the sound, but because of Bill's past, he inferes that it will make the same sound that he has heard before.
    Because they have different ideas about the definition of "sound" makes this a verbal dispute.