Social Sciences

Start Free Trial

Using at least one scholarly source, answer and explain the following question from and idealist perspective:

If a tree falls in the forest and no ones around around to hear, does it make a sound? 

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The question itself is a though experiment that brings awareness to questions pertaining to reality and observation. It does not necessarily have a right or wrong answer but was meant to explore the possibility of an unperceived existence. This means that human perception is what defines reality and if it cannot be perceived at a particular moment in time then it is not real, regardless of whether it exists or not. The question was original posed by the philosopher George Berkely, in his work, “A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge”.

To examine this question from an idealist perspective, we will first have to look at the definition of an idealist or idealism. Idealism as a philosophy holds that reality is mental and immaterial, idealist see things as they should be rather than how they actually are. An idealist would answer no to the question because an idealist worldview dictates the superiority of perception. And since no one is there to perceive the event, then it might as well have not occurred.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Posted on