If a tree falls…

Ok, so… I just posted this as a comment on Pharyngula, but I like it enough to repost it here.

“When a tree falls in the forest,
There is sound”, the people chorused,
But a pressure wave is simply not identical with sound.
I’m not making the suggestion
That it’s not a stupid question
But this answer is as dumb as any other that’s around.
It’s less “answer” than “illusion”;
It’s assuming its conclusion,
So it’s true by definition, but the definition’s wrong!
Is the stimulus sensation?
An erroneous conflation
Of the pressure and perception–leave them both where they belong!
This ignores the useful labor
Both of Fechner and of Weber
Who invented psychophysics to explore the problem right
Now their sig-detection theory
Might make researchers grow weary
But it works to study taste and touch, and sound and smell and sight!

Besides, Danae rocks…


  1. says

    Bioephemera… Art & Biology? You might, in particular, be interested in Fechner (or may already be familiar with him)–one of his passions was experimental aesthetics!

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