Could you explain the following from a positivist and idealist perspective: If a tree falls in the forest, and there’s nobody around to hear, does it make a sound? If possible, could you provide two scholarly research articles: one article will use a positivist theory and the other will use an idealist theory to explain this phenomena?
P.S. I found one very helpful article (attached below), but I'm not sure if it can be classified as a scholarly research article.
1 Answer | Add Yours
The epic quandary: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound? A positivist would say yes; an idealist may answer either yes or no (depending upon his or her own personal reality).
A positivist examines the rules of the scientific world. Therefore, a positivist would scrutinize the world's knowledge of sound, sound waves, and being present in a situation (or not being present in a situation). An idealist lives within a world which is defined by himself or herself. This is a "science" of the individual--things can only happen if the individual allows it to. For one person, reality may only exist if he or she is there to experience it. For others, they may believe that something may exist even without being there to experience it.
The article you reference is presented on an Oxford University blog. A blog is a personal column of reflections and discussions written by the owner/author of the blog. Blogs associated with renowned newspapers, e.g., The New York Times, or universities or scientific institutions, e.g., CERN, can be accepted as academically sound and trustworthy. This particular blog is written by Jim Baggott. Baggott is an award winning science writer with a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Oxford.
This topic is also discussed in chapter three of Sarah Tracy's Qualitative Research Methods: Collecting Evidence, Crafting Analysis. Another text which examines this is Roger D. Wimmer's Mass Media Research (page 118 of the tenth edition).
While not an article, the University of Chicago has a page which discusses this concept (the tree in the forest). I have provided the link below.
We’ve answered 319,632 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question