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Thread: Is Sound qualia..

  1. #1
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    Is Sound qualia..

    Hiya..

    Does sound exist if there is no conscious being to interpret the sound waves ?

    Is sound qualia ?

    If i recorded the wind in the trees on some sort of recording device but did not listen to it, then what would be on the device, the sound of the trees or just information ?

    If the recording device has the sound of the trees then does that prove there is sound without the need for conscious observers.. ?

    Please help, i'm having a debate about it on Facebook haha
    Far away is close at hand in images of elsewhere...

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin1981 View Post
    Hiya..

    Does sound exist if there is no conscious being to interpret the sound waves ?

    Is sound qualia ?

    If i recorded the wind in the trees on some sort of recording device but did not listen to it, then what would be on the device, the sound of the trees or just information ?

    If the recording device has the sound of the trees then does that prove there is sound without the need for conscious observers.. ?

    Please help, i'm having a debate about it on Facebook haha
    The answer about existence depends on whether we define "sound" as the qualia in question or as the waves that stimulate it. Philosophers and scientists can define it in whatever way is useful for their respective tasks. There is no lawgiver decreeing it one way or the other.

  3. #3
    The wind thru the leaves make a sound whether or not you hear it.
    ...I'm still free, you can't take the sky from me.
    You cannot run away from the truth, the world is not big enough. DI Jack Frost
    Don't Panic THGTTG
    Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. Einstein
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  4. #4
    Here is a link to a video with trees in the wind, I have not played it but do you hear a sound.
    https://twitter.com/BackroadAstro/st...76476310867969
    ...I'm still free, you can't take the sky from me.
    You cannot run away from the truth, the world is not big enough. DI Jack Frost
    Don't Panic THGTTG
    Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. Einstein
    http://davidsuniverse.wordpress.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    Here is a link to a video with trees in the wind, I have not played it but do you hear a sound.
    https://twitter.com/BackroadAstro/st...76476310867969
    Hiya, i do here the sound. What has happened is air pressure rising and falling creating movement in the air which makes the trees move creating more waves through the air which then
    vibrates the speaker in the camera which then turns into electric signals and gets stored.

    When i listen back to it, the electric signals vibrate my speakers in my computer which in turn vibrates the air in my room creating pressure waves..

    But to hear the sound, my ear drum needs to feel those pressure waves, then that information gets turned into electro and chemical signals which then goes through a processing
    stage which turns the information into sound.

    It is the same with light. Really the universe is a giant black space, there is no colour or anything.

    Things seem to have colour because our eyes receive electromagnetic waves and then that information is processed in the brain creating the perception of redness.
    Far away is close at hand in images of elsewhere...

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    Compression waves are not sounds. Sound is a phenomena of the perceiving mind.

    Elephants can make subsonic vibrations that humans cannot hear.

    So, that is a case where, even if a person were there to hear it, they would not hear a sound.

    Sound is in the perceiving.

    And yes, it is a qualia. If that elephant could talk, he would not be able to convey to us what he is hearing.

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    Cheers dave, that is what i thought. I am speaking to one of those people who thinks he knows the answer and is not willing to think about it and learn.. !

    I think i will copy and paste what you have said to add fuel to my argument Even though i know i am right anyway !
    Far away is close at hand in images of elsewhere...

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    But actually, to me Hornblower’s response is correct. It’s not a question about any physical phenomenon, but really a question about how you define the word “sound.” I would tend to say that a radio in a soundproof room with no living things in it is still making a sound because it is producing the waves, but it’s not something I’d want to argue about because I think it is a fairly trivial issue of word definitions that doesn’t have any real consequence.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I would tend to say that a radio in a soundproof room with no living things in it is still making a sound because it is producing the waves
    I thought I'd preempted that idea by providing an example of waves permeating the air yet not producing sound.
    i.e. compression waves are not, themselves, sound.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    I thought I'd preempted that idea by providing an example of waves permeating the air yet not producing sound.
    i.e. compression waves are not, themselves, sound.
    No, what happened is, I said that it depends on how you define sound. And you said, “I define sound as the reception.” If you use that definition, that is the answer you get. You haven’t convinced me that your definition is the only valid one.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    No, what happened is, I said that it depends on how you define sound. And you said, “I define sound as the reception.” If you use that definition, that is the answer you get. You haven’t convinced me that your definition is the only valid one.


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    Yes. The mere fact that we can talk about "sound recording" and "sound reproduction" in everyday speech shows that we also sometimes think of sound as a phenomenon that can be processed outside our heads. So it depends on the context, and I'd say the argument about qualia is just an argument about language usage.

    (On which topic: the singular of qualia is "quale", folks.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    No, what happened is, I said that it depends on how you define sound.
    We should probably not be making up our own definitions.

    Here is one definition to start, though I won't suggest it is the ... definitive definition:

    vibrations that travel through the air or another medium and can be heard when they reach a person's or animal's ear.
    - Oxford


    There may be some simplistic definitions out there for causal use; I'd want a scientifically exhaustive definition, since that's the subject of this thread.
    Last edited by DaveC426913; 2018-Jun-09 at 03:25 PM.

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    I doubt if anyone was suggesting making up our own definitions. The differing definitions already exist. Here's the OED, with my highlighting:
    The sensation produced in the organs of hearing when the surrounding air is set in vibration in such a way as to affect these; also, that which is or may be heard; the external object of audition, or the property of bodies by which this is produced. Hence also, pressure waves that differ from audible sound only in being of a lower or a higher frequency. Cf. infrasound, ultrasound.
    Red: a quale
    Blue: not a quale

    Pretty much by definition, a quale is unrecordable. And yet we speak of "sound recordings". Therefore, there exists a definition of "sound" which is not a quale.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    I doubt if anyone was suggesting making up our own definitions. The differing definitions already exist. Here's the OED, with my highlighting:

    Red: a quale
    Blue: not a quale

    Pretty much by definition, a quale is unrecordable. And yet we speak of "sound recordings". Therefore, there exists a definition of "sound" which is not a quale.
    Yes, I think the key part is "that which is or may be heard." They wrote it purposefully that way: the "is heard" means it is a quale, the "may be" is not a quale.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    We should probably not be making up our own definitions.

    Here is one definition to start, though I won't suggest it is the ... definitive definition:

    vibrations that travel through the air or another medium and can be heard when they reach a person's or animal's ear.
    - Oxford


    There may be some simplistic definitions out there for causal use; I'd want a scientifically exhaustive definition, since that's the subject of this thread.
    I'm not sure why you expect to get a "scientifically exhaustive definition." The word "sound" is a word that is used with different meanings. Some people will claim that heavy metal is noise but not sound.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I'm not sure why you expect to get a "scientifically exhaustive definition." The word "sound" is a word that is used with different meanings. Some people will claim that heavy metal is noise but not sound.
    Yes. What I was after was a definition that was cognizant of the very issue we are grappling with (I also considered but rejected the word 'rigorous'). Casual dictionary definitions are often naive of the subtleties we pursue on science boards.

    Grant has provided exactly that which I sought. And as such, I concede to both you and he.

    If we can record it and play it back faithfully, it's not a quale.**

    As an added bonus, Grant has also provided me with the singular form of qualia. This pleases me too.


    **waitaminnit - the same can be said for colours. Does that mean green is not a quale either?
    Last edited by DaveC426913; 2018-Jun-10 at 04:09 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    **waitaminnit - the same can be said for colours. Does that mean green is not a quale either?
    I don't think so. Had a disastrous semester of semester of philosophy based on that concept. The dude wanted the class to discuss "grue", which I don't care to get into right now or ever again. He pulled out a box of 128 crayons and picked two that seemed blueish and greenish to him. He was baffled when most people identified the greenish crayon as blue and a few called the blueish crayon green. Different cultures have their color wheels centered in different places, as near as I can tell.

    The whole class devolved into why would we lie, how we could do it together and so consistently even when polled separately. What a waste of credit hours, money and time.
    Solfe

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post

    **waitaminnit - the same can be said for colours. Does that mean green is not a quale either?
    Yes, I think it’s the same issue: it depends on what you mean by color.

    I can’t really imagine this conversation:

    Honey, have you seen my green shirt?

    Well, you don’t have one. You used to have one but I put it in a dark drawer, so there is not enough light for us to distinguish green, so now it is a black shirt.


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    Or alternatively, it is in the drawer and nobody can see it, so it has no color.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    I don't think so. Had a disastrous semester of semester of philosophy based on that concept. The dude wanted the class to discuss "grue", which I don't care to get into right now or ever again. He pulled out a box of 128 crayons and picked two that seemed blueish and greenish to him. He was baffled when most people identified the greenish crayon as blue and a few called the blueish crayon green. Different cultures have their color wheels centered in different places, as near as I can tell.

    The whole class devolved into why would we lie, how we could do it together and so consistently even when polled separately. What a waste of credit hours, money and time.
    Well, you got a very long way from the whole philosophical point of grue and bleen very quickly. Then again, the coloured pencils have nothing to do with the classic grue and bleen induction problem, so it's a mystery why they were involved in the first place. (Though it's no surprise that people disagreed about which were blue and which were green, when forced into an inappropriate binary choice. That's pretty much part of everyday experience, I'd have thought.)

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    I don't think so. Had a disastrous semester of semester of philosophy based on that concept. The dude wanted the class to discuss "grue", which I don't care to get into right now or ever again. He pulled out a box of 128 crayons and picked two that seemed blueish and greenish to him. He was baffled when most people identified the greenish crayon as blue and a few called the blueish crayon green. Different cultures have their color wheels centered in different places, as near as I can tell.

    The whole class devolved into why would we lie, how we could do it together and so consistently even when polled separately. What a waste of credit hours, money and time.
    Apparently that dude was ignorant of the fact that there is person to person variation in the sensitivity curves of the cones, not to mention the brain cells that interpret them. It is unremarkable that some people perceive a particular hue as more nearly like pure blue while to others it is more nearly like pure green.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    Apparently that dude was ignorant of the fact that there is person to person variation in the sensitivity curves of the cones, not to mention the brain cells that interpret them. It is unremarkable that some people perceive a particular hue as more nearly like pure blue while to others it is more nearly like pure green.
    But there doesn't seem to be much point in showing the class a range of cyan crayons unless you want to highlight that very issue. I can't see what philosophical point might have been made if everyone had agreed on the colour.
    And in any case, Goodman's philosophical point about grue and bleen (which are very different from real-world cyan) can't be illustrated using crayons at all - it's about inductive reasoning, not colours.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Well, you got a very long way from the whole philosophical point of grue and bleen very quickly. Then again, the coloured pencils have nothing to do with the classic grue and bleen induction problem, so it's a mystery why they were involved in the first place. (Though it's no surprise that people disagreed about which were blue and which were green, when forced into an inappropriate binary choice. That's pretty much part of everyday experience, I'd have thought.)

    Grant Hutchison
    I think that it was a collision of problems. I honestly think he was trying a new strategy of teaching the concept, didn't realize what could happen and what do when it happened. He was expecting excitement and engagement and he got the opposite. This lesson would have been better if he had a pack of 8 crayons rather than 128. He had too many choices, too many variations. All he wanted to do was say, "We know what green and blue are, right?" Try to find THE GREEN and THE BLUE in a box of 128 crayons, on the fly, in the middle of a lecture. It isn't going to be very smooth. He thought that "close enough" was going to work and it confused everyone.

    I can see the desire to do such a thing would be important, philosophy can be very dry. This is not the content per se, but the students. He happened to have a very bad class: mostly engineering, software and math types with a handful of art majors. Not traditional philosophy students and more importantly, not one person who cared about the subject matter.

    This was before I went into teaching, so I was very unforgiving and unfair in my assessment of him. I have had this very thing happen to me, and when you change something to "be exciting", the retreat to the tried and true seems "bad". Having change on the fly to something you were avoiding to begin with goes from a minor hiccup to massive roadblock, all because you have a preconceived notion.

    I was vaguely aware of what he was going to teach, and was very interested in the concept. Once the shouting started, I was all done. I've told parts of this story over the years... so I won't again. But this mess actually highlights the very concept of simple expectations vs. logic, does it not? Is it raw or processed in some way? Something so simple as a box of crayons is a "processing" of sorts.
    Last edited by Solfe; 2018-Jun-10 at 03:39 PM.
    Solfe

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    One other point I forgot in my last post was that I could see this teaching method building over the weeks. He would do demonstrations all the time and most of them were very good. He would put a chair in the front of us, ask someone to sit in it to establish that it was "real" but then ask the class to talk about the sun. The chair was positioned in such a way that that student in the chair couldn't see the sun at all. That sort of demonstration is very cool to start a conversation, but doesn't have anything to do with the materials and everything to do with engagement.

    Oh, and he was mostly deaf. There was a student lounge next to his classroom and sometimes his hearing aides were able to pick up music that we students couldn't hear. In some cases, we could feel the music but not hear what he was hearing. That drove all of us batty and would have been a great opening to a lesson. We all missed it.
    Last edited by Solfe; 2018-Jun-10 at 03:50 PM.
    Solfe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    I can see the desire to do such a thing would be important, philosophy can be very dry. This is not the content per se, but the students. He happened to have a very bad class: mostly engineering, software and math types with a handful of art majors. Not traditional philosophy students and more importantly, not one person who cared about the subject matter.
    I find it difficult to puzzle out how a course like that even happens. What's the point of such a thing, for anyone involved? People who have no interest in philosophy are just going to keep generating glib answers and side-discussions, because that's what always happens.

    (Cue the customary Zack Weinersmith cartoon.)

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    I don't think so. Had a disastrous semester of semester of philosophy based on that concept. The dude wanted the class to discuss "grue", which I don't care to get into right now or ever again. He pulled out a box of 128 crayons and picked two that seemed blueish and greenish to him. He was baffled when most people identified the greenish crayon as blue and a few called the blueish crayon green. Different cultures have their color wheels centered in different places, as near as I can tell.

    The whole class devolved into why would we lie, how we could do it together and so consistently even when polled separately. What a waste of credit hours, money and time.
    Not at all.

    It prepared you for The Blue Dress and Laurel/Yanni crises.

    So there's that.

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