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The idea of sound will be investigated in the following essay. Is there sound in the world and if a tree falls in the forest and there is no body around does it actually make a noise? These ideas will be followed by the theory of colour. Individuals “think” they see colour, so people believe there is colour in the world and do not even think twice about the issue. Still, some philosophers have presented ideas about the world with no colour. Is this theory plausible? Following these two questions, I will provide my take on the two theories of sound and colour and render my stance on whether I believe in the ideas of philosophers or whether I do not think their suggestions have any backing and provide stable proof.
Sound is a vibration of air molecules caused by the motion of an object. The wave is a compression wave where the density of the molecules is higher. This wave travels through the air at a speed dependent on the temperature. A sound wave contains energy, which in turn means it can make things move. However, if the wave strikes something solid, it will bounce back (www.askjeeves.com sound}).
When a tree falls and there is no one around does it make a sound? There are two ways to look at the statement presented. The first way would include that sound is something that is objective and independent. When a tree falls it makes a noise (sound) and the noise that is produced is by the falling and hitting of the ground of the tree. This statement does not need anyone to prove its concretness, and it may even happen without anyone knowing it. The other theory that is presented is one of scientific adequacy where one has to think about the solution and have prior knowledge about sound waves and the theories behind them. When a tree falls, vibrations occur and cause waves in the air, which are detected by our ears and are then sent as messages to our brain and nerves. An equivalent reaction happens when our eyes see a coloured object. There is a process that takes place and a reaction has to occur before you can understand what you just saw or heard. Thus far, the two theories are related. The distinction between the two comes into effect when we look at whether we are hearing the waves in the air or whether this is the cause of the sound as well as the waves? The argument of the fallen tree in the forest only discusses the air waves; sound on the other hand is referred to as something physically heard. The “sound itself is the result of the physical and physiological processes initiated by the fallen tree” (Landesman, 18).
One philosopher that had a theory on this issue is William Ockham. His theory is referred to as the Ockham razor. He said, “entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity”. Ockham stated we should not include objective sound at all. By doing this we are making things simpler and his reasoning for this was the simpler things were the better they turn out. Ockham is not disagreeing that sounds exist but that there are two types of sounds: subjective and dependent. Since only air waves play a role in the hearing of sound, there is no point in believing that objective sound exists in the role of sound at all.
George Berkeley was not so enticed by Ockham’s theory. He saw many flaws in his reasoning and came up with his own explanations. His theory was that sound could be given a classification. There are many distinct sounds which are all different and cause various emotions in people.Some sounds cause a person to feel joy, while other sounds cause a person to experience a bad memory, thus causing pain. Air waves are simply a vibration or undulatory movement in the air. There are no properties of sound such as loudness that are caused by these waves. Berkeley’s realization was that there is no feasible way that sound and air waves can be classified together in the same domain.
Colour is one or any mixture of the constituents into which light is separated in a rainbow. Colour is lightwaves absorbed or reflected by everything around us. In nature, a rainbow is white light that is broken apart by the moisture in the air (www.askjeeves.com colour}).With this statement, one might ask if objects that are unseen have colour and is there colour in the world at all?
Locke is the first philosopher to state that individuals judgements are all incorrect. We think we observe things and know the outcome of these occurrences, however, this is false. Our senses deceive us in every way, altering our beliefs about everything we originally perceived to be true. An example of this situation is when a person looks at a lamp, he looks at it and observes with his own two eyes that the object in front of him is brown. Locke says he truly thinks that the object must be brown, but he is wrong and once again his senses are deceiving him. The object does not posses any colour at all, the object is in fact colourless. The only reason we observe colour is because when we perceive things, our senses react and cause us to see different colours.
According to the principal of symmetry, there is no reason to believe in the theory of objective colour. We think we know about colour because there is “a consequence of the action of the atomic structures of bodies upon our visual organs. Colour itself is not a property of the atomic structures of bodies: neither Locke’s corpuscularian hypothesis nor the atomic theory of modern physics supposes that the colours we see are properties for the atoms or of collections of atoms” (Landesman, 29).
Locke then discusses his two theories about colour. He remarks that the first are colours that we are directly aware of which only exists in sensation and the second are colours of bodies to cause sensation in us. This theory has no real merit because any way a person describes a colour, the same colour is being illustrated. Whether an individual says that object is “orange” or do you have an “orange” piece of paper, the same substance is being asked. The person is still asking for the same colour, therefore, it is the same, there are no two meanings for the colour “orange”. Essentially, the idea Locke is trying to get across is that there is no colour. The only colour that is presented is through sense experience.
Many philosophers and other knowledgeable individuals do not agree with Locke’s theory and have come up with their own arguments about colour. One of these people who have come up with their own colour theory is Max Planck. He believed that “colour is to be identified with some of the physical features in nature responsible for our sense awareness of colour.” He also thought colour was explained by the frequencies of wave lengths (light waves). He does not discuss the word “colour” at all, he is speaking about the characteristics which colour possesses and is systematically relating the two together.
Locke’s view of the secondary qualities of colour declares that the colours are subjective and dependent. Our senses are reacting to our own experiences and the feelings that we hold are producing us to see colours. The colours are a reaction to our perception, thus, there are no colours with objects themselves.
On colours as a secondary quality, philosophers also disagree with Locke’s theory and have reasoning to back up their theories of colour and disregard his. Rene Descartes has a theory “mind-body dualism” which proposes that the mind and the body are two different entities. He agreed that the mind and body have to do with each other, but are different. When a person views a colour, the mind observes the colour and has a sensation but the body does not have to move accordingly.This occurrence is in the mind of the individual. Colours have a strong bond with extension. This idea would relate that anything extended would be coloured. A dualist cannot claim that colours are subjected, the idea of an object looking a certain colour does not mean it is that colour, all it means is that some mental event is occurring and causing a reaction.
The second theory that in contrast to Locke is the Materialist position. They feel that the mind of a person is in the brain and the nervous system and nothing else is included in determining circumstance. They also feel whatever goes on in the mind is the brain working and reacting to the different situations. To solidify their argument and to provide reliability, they say “if mental events could be brain processes, then the principle of simplicity requires that they be identified with brain processes” (Landesman, 33). If an individual observes colour, there has to be a colour patch which is taking place in the eyes, brain or nerves. This is causing some various chemical reaction which may not be exerting colour, but the person is reacting to the event and experiencing colour. The main supporter of this theory was Thomas Hobbes.
When examining all the present theories, it is hard for me to find a philosopher and theory, which I can appreciate all of their views and arguments. In my opinion, all of the arguments had some very intelligent ideas to back up their theories, but they also had some ideas that made no logical sense. I could not relate to some of their views as to what they were trying to get across, therefore, I have to go with my own theory and believe what I thought about Colour and Sound before I researched and obtained knowledge from the various philosophers. I believe that that there is colour and sound in the world and I experience them everyday of my life. I hear sound and I see colour and it is impossible for anyone to tell me this is not true. With my own two eyes I observe all the different colours that life has presented and with my ears I am able to hear sound and people talking around me.If these two characteristics where not in my life I think I would know this and my life would be very different. I do not believe that there truly is no colour and I do not think I will ever with come to this conclusion. The ideas presented were valid in that they made me question if there truly is no colour or sound in the world. After reading the book and seeing the highlighter on my page, I have disregarded all the ideas of colour not existing at all. I am convinced that these were all theories by proven philosophers to try to seize individuals to fall for their “crazy” thoughts. Colour and sound are in the world and this is not an idea, it is reality.