Philosophy and Philosophers

Philosophy is the rational study of fundamental and general problems, including knowledge, reason, values, existence, and language. Philosophers, such as Aristotle and Plato, are persons who act based on the rules of practical wisdom. They are considered “lovers of wisdom.”

19,151 Questions
Religion & Spirituality
Philosophy and Philosophers

What is the meaning of life?

Here are a variety of answers from WikiAnswers contributors (in no particular order of priority):

To live in many different ways

  • Life is short enjoy it while you can! The importance of life is to live it to its fullest. To live it to its fullest and stop trying to figure everything out.
  • Life's meaning is what it means to you! The meaning of life, to me, is to live life anyway I choose: What do you value in your life? Everyone has their own meaning and their own perception of life. Britannica says it's the sequence of physical and mental experiences that make up the existence of an individual, one or more aspects of the process of living, or a way or manner of "living".
  • The meaning of life - to learn from mistakes. Without mistakes no one ever really learns how to live. You will make some mistakes, as all of us do. We learn from them and grow stronger. We all do the best we can and learn from our mistakes because, quite simply put, humans on earth are on a 'learning ground' and thus, we learn, make mistakes, learn from them, hopefully, and do the best we can.
  • To appreciate the beauty and amazing things going on around us on the Earth that was originally intended for us to enjoy. Since it is no longer entirely in that pure state, we have the job to care for what does remain and, more importantly, to point others to the time when it will be possible to live in a truly perfect place once more through what Christ has done to enable us to be there if we choose. Finding your purpose therefore will be determined by your ability to appreciate every moment by making the most positive use of it because every breath of life you take you are one breath closer to death. So live right and do good always enjoy the existence you have now and if you awaken and realize that this was all a dream, then make it a sweet dream.
  • Life is what you make it: The meaning of life is not the same for everyone. Your life has one meaning, the life of another person will have another meaning, and my life will have another meaning too. You are the one to give meaning to your life by making something of it. Every person is allowed to live their life as they want to. Find the way you want to live your life and live it like that. Be happy. Be healthy. Be loved.
  • Although I'm just seventeen and have my whole life ahead, life has shown me that whatever I put in, I get out., That means for all the effort I put into something, I will get something out of it, I will be rewarded in some way. I tend to live naturally, to love, to learn, and to help, I tend to love knowledge, because it makes me satisfied, it makes me know how things work, it makes me build up ideas and have something to say. It makes me know how to listen, how to talk and spread my ideas. I think the meaning of life is to understand how it is best suited for you and how it will make you satisfied, happy, successful and loved. But one thing I can guarantee: no one out there will tell you the meaning of life, nor the meaning of your life for you will have to find that out by yourself. Take it as a challenge. After all, you wouldn't be asking that if you already knew it, or if mostly everyone knew it.
  • According to Douglas Adams the answer would be 42. The meaning of life, of the universe, and of everything is 42. But put science fiction aside! Look at the smaller, less complicated life species, they live just to live. More complicated life species live and help keep other life alive. We, as humans, should live to be alive and help others be alive. Taken a step further, life is about experience; one should live to experience one's own life and the life of others. (But do not try to live through another person's life). You have to give your own life meaning and not rely on someone else's opinion to give you one.
  • The meaning of life is to live until you die, and to change the world in some little way -- no matter how unknown you are.
  • The meaning of life is to live forever. The true meaning of life is for humans to reproduce so that the human race lives forever and conquer the universe (and multiverses, if they exist) so that humans can rule everything forever.
  • To tell you the truth, I don't think anyone knows the true meaning of life. People say that the only way to know the true meaning of life is to live a full life with many near death experiences, then God tells you an instant after you have died. If you have a complex enough mind, and when God wants us to know, he will tell someone after they die and let that person be revived to tell the rest of the human race. If that never happens then we will just have to live life with many questions and as best we can. That's what God wants us to do. That's one way to look at it.
  • To live the life of God's creation and Gods painting of life.
  • According to me the point of life is happiness. We all are trying to find a place where we are happy, be it by earning money or fame or getting married. Even a person who commits suicide is trying to be happy, thinking that it will end his misery. So I think, the point of life is to stay as happy as possible in any given circumstance and to create a better tomorrow for ourselves.
  • The meaning of life is to grow physically, mentally and spiritually. It's about traveling down different paths of your life and making decisions. It's about being true to yourself, standing alone sometimes when you really believe in something and not fearing retribution. What is the meaning of life has been an age old question since the beginning of time and it's like trying to define the meaning of love. It means to love those around you, help where you can, be known as a person that can be trusted and just do the best you can. If we didn't feel sadness we could never experience happiness; if we didn't get angry on occasion we would never know peace, and if we didn't trust our hearts we'd never know love. Yes, it's about pro-creating, but life is much more than that if you open your eyes, ears and heart and listen!
  • The point of life lies in the question of whether or not you are just living to die. Because every breath of life you take, you come one breath closer to death. So the time you spend bothered by what could or should be is time wasted in imagination and fantasy.
  • A person who cannot find contentment, cannot find peace. A person, who cannot find peace, cannot find fulfilment. Prosperity, Power and Popularity are not the solutions to human suffering, because you may have them all and still feel incomplete. There are many prosperous, powerful and popular individuals who need mind altering drugs and other freaky activities to keep them excited, and still aren't content.
  • The meaning of life is to make life meaningful.
  • Many people believe that there is no "point" per se to life; life simply exists, and the meaning of an individual's life is up to the individual.
  • In Buddhism the meaning of life is found in the "true insight" of Enlightenment, which is called a "perfect peace".
  • The point (purpose) of life for each individual depends on his/her beliefs and values. The choices people make are usually dependent on the psychological conditioning they are exposed to, from the moment of foetal conception, to the point of completion of their social/cultural programming. This social/cultural programming is similar to the programming of a computer's processor with data that is considered to be factual. The computer then compares all incoming data against its programmed intelligence, in order to generate a conclusion. Similarly the human intellect processes incoming data based on the morals/values they have been conditioned with. Some of these morals/values are inherited from genetic sources and the others are learnt from the environment to which the absorptive mind is exposed.
  • A humanist would say we each make our own meaning by the way we live. The meaning is whatever meaning/purpose you care to assign to it... or none at all. If you have a religion, you could find meaning there; a particular philosophy, ditto. If you're a nihilist, you might conclude that there is no meaning at all.
  • We, being animals, the meaning of life is to reproduce ourselves to continue the species. All the other stuff is just to make it interesting.
  • One aspect to enjoying being alive is considering how incredibly complex the function of your body is and how it is difficult to believe that we consist of billions of living cells that allow us our senses and work literally like they were programmed, just to keep us alive.
  • The meaning of life is to utilize our main driving force, curiosity, without which none of us would even exist. Discover and find out new things. Space travel, for example, will lead to great new discoveries - including life near and far from us.
  • No one really knows the answer to this. Philosophers and religionists have been debating it for thousands of years.
  • I think that there is absolutely no point in life. God does not seem real, so we are all going to die without an afterlife.
  • I don't believe in God. I think eating pie and watching football is good enough for me.
  • Live fast and die young.The irony in life these days is that, in order to find its meaning, you merely have to Google it.
  • The meaning of life is that we exist, that we are products of a force called creation, and that we should all support and affiliate with that force in every one of its manifestations. The difference between life and the inanimate is that life has consciousness.
  • No one knows the meaning of life, some choose God, and some choose self or try to be God. Life is full of discovery and to give you a little hint on discovery try thinking outside the media. I recommend studying quantum physics or learning more about the superstring theory or the chaos theory. Everything is composed of waves, sound waves ranging at all frequencies, you could almost say that we are just a wave in this world seeking complete harmony.
  • Living with a meaning: "To be the eyes and ears and conscience of the Creator of the Universe, you fool." - Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions.
  • The meaning of life is purity.
  • There is no meaning of life. Nobody asks to be born, but you're here anyway. Make the best of things while you're here. If your life needs meaning, then join a cause.
  • You can make your life to be what you want it to be, within reason, and you don't have to become famous or rich to do it. Some of the most successful people have been those who gave without question, such as a teacher that cares about his/her students and makes a difference, or a doctor, a mother, father, a person with disabilities of their own, etc. One can volunteer for people, children or pets and ease some of the suffering of all. I live by rule of thumb ... when you are lucky financially (that's just keeping your head above water) and even though you may be limping through life, you should always give back to those less fortunate. One day you just never know when you'll need someone there for you too. This makes your mind, body and soul one. It gives you a source of peace when the world around you is going mad.
  • Consider this when trying to understand the meaning of your own life. An old guy once told me that the meaning of life was survival. I thought he was crazy, but as I get older, I think that the crazy guy may have something.
  • The answer to life is being. It is all anything has ever done, it is all anything will ever do.
  • The meaning of life to you is dependent on your value system. Your particular set of morals/values are those that you inherited from genetic sources and from the environment within which you were raise. What is the meaning of life is finding the answer to the following questions:
    • Who am I?
    • Where am I?
    • Why am I?
    • The meaning of life for you depends on your belief systems.
    • Who are you?
    • Are you an organism that was created from a chemical combination of other organisms?
    • Are you just living to die or is there an existence beyond this body that was created from organic digestion (the food you eat)?
    • Are you an absolute entity called a soul?
    • What gives all of matter its intelligence?
    • Where do atomic and subatomic nanoparticles get their intelligence?
    • Can something be created from nothing?
    • Why are you here?
    • Did you have a choice in the matter?
    • Does your existence have a purpose?
    • Do you add value to the universe?
    • Are you a link in the cosmic chain of evolution/creation?
    • Where are you?
    • Are you resting on a bed somewhere dreaming all of this?
    • Do you know that you are dreaming when you are dreaming?
    • How do you know that it was all a dream (illusion/virtual-reality)?
    • Are you a speck of dust in a massive cosmic sphere?
  • The meaning of life is yo die and multiply.
  • Many great minds have pondered 'what is the meaning of life' and it basically comes down to each individual and what their needs are. Some people enjoy peace, living on a farm or ranch, while others want to hit the big cities for careers, investments, etc., but we all have to make ourselves happy and feel fulfilled no matter what and I doubt that most humans will ever totally attain that. There will always be some regrets. We should be kind, considerate to our fellow man. We should have some belief system of higher power. We should know the good from evil and help those that can't help themselves. We should not constantly feel powerful over another, but be humble enough to know where help is needed. That's power!
  • The only reason I know for life is that it's a test that we have to pass the right way for reward in the life hereafter.
  • Evolution has determined that the point of life is to reproduce and to be the most successful species. That is the meaning of life for all creatures. If it was not their point in life that species would've died off long ago. (Mainly it is the urge to pass along your own genes).
  • Life is to just live. We should enjoy each and every moments. If you are suffering from a problem, really you are great. The problem came to you because you can solve the same and come up in life. At every situation remember one thing. This present is not permanent. It may be either a sad time or a good one. Follow these tips:
    • 1. Do not vex if sad,
    • 2. Do not enjoy to the core when in joy
    • 3. Share your feelings to your beloved. Both sad and sweet
    • 4. When you grow respect others
    • 5. Maintain patience at any cost.
    • 6. You should know that there are thousands of people suffering a lot more than you.
  • We as organisms of infinitely complex chains of chemical reactions truly designed through creativity, formed by atoms attracted by neutral chemical compositions, actually interpret ourselves, the universe, and the atoms we consist of to ask these kind of questions. There is no question that the only thing that keeps us alive is the flow and exchange of electrons. The integration of god and morals is still a question of, right or wrong, what do we do, what do we not do; relatively, why are we here or why are we not here. Life is not just humans interpreting their surroundings; trees through inter-cellular communication interpret gravity and the location of the sun. And just as the tree stretches out for the sunlight, we as humans reach out for each other and strive for knowledge and meaning. In this way, life is a necessary outcome in the displacement of energy and completes necessary chains of events. "Life" allows these necessary connections in the flow and displacement through forms of energy; as humans, as trees, as the flow of a river or the explosion of a volcano. This interpretation, communication, and ultimately exchange, could be said is the meaning of life. The atoms, quarks, muons and gluons that we as humans consist of can indirectly, through many exchanges and chemical reactions, interpret the direct energy displacement of other prominent metabolisms of energy (like other humans) and other things that effect the chemical reactions through communication of light, sound, pressure, and temperature. This is why we are "conscious". Every atom is either repelled or attracted to each other; the fact that this occurs means that every atom is effected, or "conscious", of another. The exchange of electrons with another atom and change in composition, are the same exchanges occurring in our brains to make "conscious" decisions and interpretations.
  • I've got two theories. There is no meaning but of what you make it like some of you may be to have kids, find a lover, climb a mountain that stuff. The other theory is that it is change, meaning nothing lasts forever accept change, one day I will die, the worms will eat me, and a bird will eat that it will reproduce. What I mean is there is always a state of change nothing will last forever everything hangs on a tip of a knife the balance always changing.
  • Life's meaning is having fun and living through the bad times and good times and that makes you the person you are. The meaning of life is to take care of our planet. To be hard working and serve God. To help out in fixing communities - that's what life is about; you should not live only for fun but help others enjoy life too.
  • The meaning of life is to contemplate questions like this.
  • The purpose of life is to serve your soul's purpose as a human.

Here is a variety of religious views from WikiAnswers contributors (in no particular order of priority):

  • The true meaning of life is to love and serve God.
  • Perhaps the true meaning of life is to find peace with God. For most people it is impossible to believe in God because it doesn't make any scientific sense for such an entity to exist. But to others the "Big bang" as a cause for the creation of the universe might be equally difficult to believe in. To find God is peace. To find God, you need Jesus, because he can free you from your sins. But while we're alive on this Earth, we might as well try our best to have a good life and be the best we can be, as long as we stay true to ourselves.
  • The "meaning" of life is a test. This is only a test. Our life here is so brief yet our spirits are eternal. The "purpose" of life is to choose whom you will be loyal to. Either you will show yourself willing to live under the rule of the God of the Universe or you will choose to live as a slave to self and to sin.
  • There are a lot of answers to what is the meaning of life and they are all so detailed, but too detailed so they miss the point. The meaning of life/purpose in basic terms:
    • 1. to acknowledge a Creator of the universe and all
    • 2. to know He's one and only
    • 3. to know He watches your very moves to see if you do good in life hoping for your success in life
    • 4. to give praise to Him, so He can praise you back
    • 5. to obey HIS book of wisdom, The Torah of succeeding with perfection. For a Jew obey the 613 mitzvot of the Torah, for a non-Jew to obey the 7 laws of Noah and this will make you gain perfection opening a spot for you in heavens glory.
  • The meaning of life is that God created us and loves us, and wants us to know and love Him, and to join Him in Heaven one day. He has created the way for us to do so, by sending Jesus His Son to die for our sins. Now we can receive Him as our Lord and Saviour and have a new life in Him on earth, and one day join Him in Heaven. Life is like a test. God wants to see what you can do, and if you do good things in life and help others.
  • To live the life of God's creation and Gods painting of life.
  • If you believe in the Bible, the meaning of life is Jesus Christ, because He is the only one that defeated death.
  • To understand the meaning of life we have to turn to the source, or creator. If you believe in such things, that is God. If he put us here, it was for a purpose. So He may be the only one able to provide us with the answer. Some people will acknowledge that everything we need to know about the purpose of life and about God himself is found in one book, the Bible.
    • If you believe in the Bible, the meaning of life is in God's inspired words: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it." Luke 9:23.
  • Ecclesiastes 12:13 "Fear God and obey His commandments for this is the whole duty of man."
  • I believe it's to enjoy the beauty of God's creation.
  • Any Christian should know the purpose of life is simple: to serve God. Any Christian who doesn't know this needs to build up their relationship with God; He'll show you all you need to know.
  • The Serenity Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
  • Jewish answer: The philosophy of Judaism is that this world is a purposeful creation by God, in which all people are tested concerning their use of free-will. We possess a soul which lives on after the body dies and is held responsible for the person's actions. Anyone who is worthy, Jewish or not, can merit reward in the afterlife. The world is not chaotic or the result of chance. Life is the work of a deliberate, purposeful, intelligent and kind Creator; not a melancholy chaos or a string of fortuitous accidents. God is at the center of reality and the center of our world-outlook and thoughts. God's ways are also eternal. God is not capricious, forgetful or fickle. Investing in a relationship with God is the only thing that will bear eternal benefits.
'What is the meaning of life' is a question that some find difficult to answer because it's very subjective. To some, the meaning of life is we are born, we live our life and then we die. To others, they believe that they have a purpose in life. This might be something to do with a career or chosen lifestyle.

Life is a test. We are being tested by our actions and how we deal with challenges and. We have what is called free agency which is the ability to choose from right and wrong and we are being tested on how we use that free agency. Life is also a chance for us to gain a body and live on this Earth.

the mining of life is to live life and do what you want

The collection of all your memories in locked inside your subconscious mind will describe the meaning of life, which is why they say the meaning of life is different for everyone.

Do everything you wanna do cos life's too short to live with regrets and 'what ifs'

Philosophy and Philosophers

General philosophy of Swami Dayanand Saraswati?

Swami Dayanand Saraswati did not spell out any new religion, faith or philosophy.

He preached only to go back to true original Vedas - to follow their teachings and lessons to become Aryas- the Shreshtha men or the perfect men.

For that he founded Arya Samaj and gave the Ten Principles of Universality.

Dayanand preached for Total and Absolute faith in God and Truth.

By adopting these Principles of Sarvey Bhavantu Sukhina, Sarvey Bhavantu Niramaya ( May all the people be happy, comfortable and stay healthy )

The whole Universe shall be one family of equals sharing brotherhood.

He believed in the welfare of all living beings of the Universe as enunciated in the Ten Principles of Arya Samaj

Philosophy and Philosophers
Famous People

Who are some famous people with three names?

Some famous people with three-word names :

  • John Quincy Adams
  • Louisa May Alcott
  • Hans Christian Anderson
  • Melissa Sue Anderson
  • Tammy Faye Bakker (now Messner)
  • Alexander Graham Bell
  • Meredith Baxter Birney
  • Mary Kay Blige
  • Lisa Hartman Black
  • Shirley Temple Black
  • John Wayne Bobbit
  • John Wilkes Booth
  • Camilla Parker Bowles
  • Lara Flynn Boyle
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  • Mary Chapin Carpenter
  • Helena Bonham Carter
  • George Washington Carver
  • June Carter Cash
  • Steven Curtis Chapman
  • Mary Higgins Clark
  • Andrew Dice Clay
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • Rachel Leigh Cook
  • Francis Ford Coppola
  • Cathy Lee Crosby
  • Jamie Lee Curtis
  • Billy Ray Cyrus
  • Terence Trent D'Arby (Howard) (now known as Sananda Francesco Maitreya)
  • James Fenimore Cooper (author wrote The Last of the Mohicians)
  • Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Thomas Alva Edison
  • John Wayne Gacy
  • Sarah Michelle Geller
  • Linda Day George
  • Kathy Lee Gifford
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Associate Justice of the US supreme court)
  • Paul Michael Glaser
  • Doris Kerns Goodwin (historian, consultant for NBC news)
  • David Allen Grier
  • Florence Griffith-Joyner (US Olympic track star)
  • Anthony Michael Hall
  • Neil Patrick Harris
  • Jennifer Love Hewett
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  • Lady Bird Johnson
  • John Paul Jones
  • James Earl Jones
  • Katherine Zeta Jones
  • Tommy Lee Jones
  • Jackie Joyner-Kersee (US Olympic track star)
  • Billie Jean King
  • Francis Scott Key
  • John Patrick Kennedy
  • Coretta Scott King
  • Martin Luther King
  • Yves Saint Laurent
  • Jennifer Jason Lee
  • Jerry Lee Lewis
  • Andrew Lloyd-Webber
  • Mary Kay Louterneau
  • Sugar Ray Leonard
  • Henry Lee Lucas (notorious serial killer)
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus
  • Mary Stuart Masterson
  • Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
  • John Cougar Mellencamp (now he omits "cougar")
  • Jo Dee Messina
  • John Michael Montgomery
  • Mary Tyler Moore
  • Robert Lee Morris
  • Michael Martin Murphy (singer/songwriter)
  • Olivia Newton-John
  • Joyce Carol Oates
  • Sandra Day O'Connor
  • Apolo Anton Ohno
  • Jose Maria Olazábal (Spanish pro golfer)
  • Edward James Olmos
  • Mary Kay Olsen
  • Jackie Kennedy Onassis
  • Haley Joel Osment
  • Lee Harvey Oswald
  • Sarah Jessica Parker
  • Lou Diamond Phillips
  • David Hyde Pierce ("Niles" on the TV show Frasier)
  • Mary Kay Place
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • Lisa Marie Presley
  • Keshia Knight-Pulliam
  • Sally Jessy Rafael
  • James Earl Ray
  • Charles Nelson Reilly
  • Mary Lou Retton
  • David Lee Roth
  • Elizabeth Kubler Ross
  • Nicole Brown Simpson
  • Anna Nicole Smith
  • Courtney Thorne Smith
  • Jada Pinkett Smith
  • Keeley Shaye Smith
  • Michael Kennedy Smith
  • Jamie Lynn Spears
  • Harry Dean Stanton
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • John Paul Stevens (Associate Justice of the US supreme court)
  • Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Billy Bob Thornton
  • Jonathan Taylor Thomas
  • Kristin Scott Thomas
  • Philip Michael Thomas
  • Sean Patrick Thomas
  • Jane Velez-Mitchell
  • Stevie Ray Vaughn
  • Malcolm Jamal-Warner
  • Lesley Ann Warren
  • Keenan Ivory Wayans
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Billy Dee Williams
  • William Carlos Williams (American poet)
  • Lee Ann Womack
  • Frank Lloyd Wright
Religion & Spirituality
Law & Legal Issues
Philosophy and Philosophers

What are immoral deeds?

Immoral deeds can be defined differently by different people. We all create our own morals, we decide what is right and what is wrong, and if we go against our own morals then we feel that we are doing something immoral. Of course, the world has its own standards and its own definition of being moral. It is about being kind and compassionate, being loving and forgiving. Therefore, this is to live a moral life. When is that we are committing immoral deeds? When we hurt somebody, be it a man, beast, bird, insect. If we hurt somebody, if we take away somebody else’s possessions, if we are unfair in our actions to others, all this comes under the category of immoral deeds and whatever deeds we perform, they are like the seeds that we plant. They return as the circumstances, as our future, as our destiny.

Harry Potter
Religion & Spirituality
Philosophy and Philosophers
Human Anatomy and Physiology

Why do we die and not just live forever?

God, the creator, has designed it such that we live and we die. There is a purpose, because every time we are born as a human being, we are supposed to be liberated from death and realize the Truth about ourselves and God. Therefore, this world has been designed for us to act and then to live as per our Karma or the Law of Action and Reaction. So, for this, the body must die, such is the design. And then we come back in a new birth, in a new life. Further, if one had to just live forever, then this whole universe would have no meaning. This universe has a meaning; it is for us to realize God.

Philosophy and Philosophers

Can you explain Science without philosophy is blind and philosophy without science is empty?

Science without philosophy has no guide (is blind). It researches pointless things rather than what we want to know, like the origin of the universe and how to stop global warming. Philosophy without science has no substance (is empty): As an example, more than 2000 years ago, the Grecian philosopher Democritus came up with the idea of atoms, but it was just an idea without meaning until science developed to support his theory.

We are just in a position to understand what is philosophy and science.Just may be a drop in the ocean. So let us allow the younger with their beliefs.Tomorrow these beliefs may correct.

Philosophy and Philosophers

What year was Platonism founded?

Platonism was born exactly in 399 B.C. in a prison cell in Athens in an evening, when the 28 year old Plato wept over the drinking of poison by his master in that prison. Then after travelling for twelve years through Egypt, Sicily, Italy, Judea and India he returned to Athens in 387 B.C. Forty years old and tamed. It was then that Platonism was formally founded.

Philosophy and Philosophers
Ethics and Morality

How different is human acts from acts of man?

Human acts are imputable to man so as to involve his responsibility, for the very reason that he puts them forth deliberatively and with self-determination. They are, moreover, not subject to physical laws which necessitate the agent, but to a law which lays the will under obligation without interfering with his freedom of choice. Besides, they are moral. For a moral act is one that is freely elicited with the knowledge of its conformity with or difformity from, the law of practical reason proximately and the law of God ultimately. But whenever an act is elicited with full deliberation, its relationship to the law of reason is adverted to. Hence human acts are either morally good or morally bad, and their goodness or badness is imputed to man. And as, in consequence, they are worthy of praise or blame, so man, who elicits them, is regarded as virtuous or wicked, innocent or guilty, deserving of reward or punishment. Upon the freedom of the human act, therefore, rest imputability and morality, man's moral character, his ability to pursue his ultimate end not of necessity and compulsion, but of his own will and choice; in a word, his entire dignity and preeminence in this visible universe.


Human acts- action that is guided by reasons or actions that can be limited.

example: exercise to be physically fit, etc...

Acts of man- instinctive; physiological.

example: crying, falling in love, eating, etc...

Philosophy and Philosophers

What is it that was tomorrow and will be yesterday?


If this is Wednesday, then on Tuesday, Wednesday was 'tomorrow', and on Thursday it will be 'yesterday'.

Philosophy and Philosophers

What is the one word for freewill or decision making?

Opinions from contributors:

  • Atheism.
  • Perhaps the word Agency?
  • "Time". Choosing how you spend your time, or life is the only freewill we have. Others dictate what we do with time, work, education, watch, etc. If others dictate how we spend "Time" we are not using Freewill or our decision making. How do you spend your time? (life)
Philosophy and Philosophers
Society and Civilization

Is there more happiness or sadness in the world?

Happiness and sadness are both emotional responses to a person's current state, or situation. Each person has, at times, more of one than the other. Seldom does anyone have only complete happiness, or complete sadness.


Thoughtfulness is a sea of which happiness and sadness are the waves. All waves of happiness and sadness recede finally into thoughtfulness. It is so because happiness and sadness are reliefs and relapses provided to man by nature so that the concentration, gravity and longevity of thoughtfulness shall not become a black hole unto himself and consume him. John Milton while studying for his M.A., as part of his vivo vaci, had to write poems describing two things that are in perfect contrast to each other. This was how the famous poems Allegro and Il Penseroso were born. Allegro means The Cheerful Man and Il Penseroso means The Thoughtful Man. He aptly termed it The Thoughtful Man, not The Sad Man. When we are not happy we are thoughtful, not sad. When we are not happy, it is to thoughtfulness that we are falling, not to sadness.


Of course there is more sadness in the world. The poor and the rich, civilized and uncivilized, black and white, and most of them are sad. Mainly because everyone is running after happiness. Unhappy people are trying to overcome sadness while happier people are struggling to maintain their happiness. This ultimately leads to sadness. Therefore most of the people are sad. The main reason for sadness is greediness or craving. Except for the few people who have overcome this craving, all are sad. This means there is more sadness in the world.


Let's review: there is dying, attacks, bombing, and who knows what else. This world has been overrun by sadness and despair.


In spite of the ceaseless yearning for happiness, many people do experience true happiness, and sometimes it comes during the bleakest of circumstances. Many people define happiness incorrectly, when what they really mean is *joy* (not entirely the same thing). One can be happy by being content, or satisfied, or find happiness in the joy of others.


Religion & Spirituality
Philosophy and Philosophers

What is life?

Life is the characteristic state of organisms. Properties common to terrestrial organisms are that they are cellular, carbon-and-water-based with complex organization, having a metabolism, a capacity to grow, respond to stimuli, reproduce and through natural selection adapt.

An entity with the above properties is considered to be organic life. However, not every definition of life considers all of these properties to be essential. For example, the capacity for descent with modification is often taken as the only essential property of life.

This definition notably includes viruses, which do not qualify under narrower definitions as they are a cellular and do not metabolize. Broader definitions of life may also include theoretical non-carbon-based life and other alternative biology. The entire Earth contains about 75 billion tons of biomass (life), which lives within various environments within the biosphere.

Other opinions from the community:

  • Life is whatever you make it, its a life of possibilities!
  • Life is a miracle that was created by God.
  • There is no real answer to what life is. There are many things that life is made up of and many characteristics of it too. Not even the best scientist can figure out exactly the answer to what life is.
  • Nothing, anywhere can answer this question because if you knew the answer to this question you would be either a fool or god sent.
  • Life is really cool so just live it.
  • Life is the presence of living organisms.
  • No one really knows what the meaning of life is, so just live it to the fullest.
  • Life is wonderful. stop wondering what it is and live it.
  • Life is wonderful, yet is also conjures up amazing questions, as well as answers that will persevere throughout your life. So in other words, do continue to "live it," yet it's okay to have questions once in a while.
  • You always have a purpose to live. to use the life the good Lord gave you!
  • Life is life nothing more, no god or religion can change that fact.
  • The meaning of life is to live.
  • Life is a good thing.
  • Life is the song, love is the lyrics.
  • Life is nature's experiments.
  • Life is a portal to death.
  • Life is amazing spend the time you have wisely and be careful in dark places.
  • A beautiful butterfly full of sparklez and monkeys.
  • People living, living things and the people around you.
  • Life refers to the existence of plants, human beings, and other animals.
Depression and Bipolar Disorder
Philosophy and Philosophers

What do you do if you really hate your life and you cry everyday and want someone to talk to and seriously think about ending your life?

Most of these answers are only being said so that the writers feel good about themselves. Listen closely.

I have depression too, and there are seriously times when I am 100% prepared to END it. What stops me? My brother. Focus on your loved ones. Think of how much they would suffer if you left.

Your skin isn't paper, don't cut it.

Your smile isn't a sneeze, don't cover it.

Your are not a book, don't judge yourself by your cover

And most importantly, your life isn't a film. Don't end it.

I hope this answer encouraged you to at least try to get some help. I hate therapists, so I am personally stuck, so whatever I can do to help you or anyone else is important to me. Stay strong.

Supernatural and the Occult
Philosophy and Philosophers

Is perfection achievable?

In this level of reality, our concepts of absolute perfection have an extremely low chance of occurring as you envision it. This is because we have an imperfect view of our reality. Also, true absolute perfection is beyond our ability to correctly or accurately comprehend. On the other hand, excellence or "good enough" perfection is certainly attainable with practice and dedication to doing your best.

Religion & Spirituality
Philosophy and Philosophers

Why do we need healing and forgiveness in your lives?

Answer 1: It allows people to see their wrong doings. It improves the quality of our lives by knowing somebody can forgive you.

Answer 2: This is not a religious forum. Answers must not be one sided, it's rude.

Answer 3: I'm sorry... but what about the first answer was inherently "religious?" Or rude? And, also, did the 2nd answerer not notice that this is the "Religion & Spirituality" area of this web site? How is rudeness, then, on account of a religious answer -- which the first answer was not, it's worthy of note (but which mine, here, is certainly and unapologetically about to be) -- even possible here, in this particular section? Oy. Sorry for that rant, but... c'mon! (See, there? Now I think I need Answerer 2's forgiveness.) [grin]

In any case, the nature of emotional healing, when it comes to the spiritual practice of forgiveness, depends, in large measure, on who's doing the forgiving, and who's being forgiven. As the first answerer suggests, there is at least some healing on the part of the one being forgiven which derives from it; and, yes, I suppose that, along the way, they also can see their wrongdoings. In that, however, is not forgiveness's real magic.

Forgiveness is, first and foremost, for the benefit of the one doing the forgiving. Until and unless the one wronged finds a way to forgive whomever wronged him or her, then the bad feelings about it in the wronged person just fester... get bigger and bigger. Thoughts of retribution -- worse, even ultimately acting on them -- can result; and such thoughts and concomitant actions can bring about all manner of other negative consequences for all concerned. They are, in fact, a further wounding.

"To forgive another person from the heart is an act of liberation," wrote the late Roman Catholic Priest, Father Henri Nouwen. "We set that person free from the negative bonds that exist between us. We say, 'I no longer hold your offense against you.' But there is more. We also free ourselves from the burden of being the 'offended one.' As long as we do not forgive those who have wounded us, we carry them with us or, worse, pull them as a heavy load. The great temptation is to cling in anger to our enemies and then define ourselves as being offended and wounded by them. Forgiveness, therefore, liberates not only the other, but also ourselves. It is the way to the freedom of the children of God."

When challenged with the task of forgiving those who have wronged us, we often cite that the offender is not remorseful as our reason to not even try. It's always easier to forgive someone who recognizes and acknowledges his/her wrongful and hurtful act, and who is truly sorry.

Again, Fr Nouwen: "How can we forgive those who do not want to be forgiven? Our deepest desire is that the forgiveness we offer will be received. This mutuality between giving and receiving is what creates peace and harmony. But if our condition of forgiveness is that it will be received, we seldom will forgive! Forgiving the other is first and foremost an inner movement. It is an act that removes anger, bitterness, and the desire for revenge from our hearts and helps us to reclaim our human dignity. We cannot force those we want to forgive into accepting our forgiveness. They might not be able or willing do so. They may not even know or feel that they have wounded us. The only people we can really change are ourselves. Forgiving others is first and foremost healing our own hearts."

Many believe that forgiving requires that the person being forgiven understands what s/he has done wrong, and is sorry; that it's like the old Japanese proverb which holds that forgiving the unrepentent is as difficult -- and as (in)effective -- as trying to draw pictures in water. But nothing could be further from the truth. Forgiving the unrepentant is, in fact, the form of forgiveness which so completely visits upon us its truest magic.

The writer, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), an atheist, understood this better than most, as evidenced by his having so deftly written: "Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel of the boot that crushed it."

And so, in that sense, it is a model for God's Grace, itself. The whole witness, in fact, of Jesus' life and death is to the very depths of God's forgiveness... his unearned Grace. English poet and artist William Blake cited, in fact, the capacity of Jesus to forgive another, and to reenter, vulnerably, into the deepest relation with another, as among the strongest evidences of Christ's being God in flesh.

So, to the original question: We need emotional healing in our lives for the same reason that we need physical healing... because life wounds us. We need forgiveness in our lives because it's a sure path to doing something about it.

But getting there is no small fete. "The weak can never forgive," Ghandi wrote. "Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."

"Loving your enemy doesn't make you a doormat," Mary Mannin Morrissey wrote, in tacit agreement. "You do not lie down and say, 'Go ahead, step on me again.' Doormats are passive; [but] loving your enemy is an act of the heart. You may never change the person who has wronged you, but in the course of loving an enemy, the life that is transformed is your own. Forgiveness doesn't happen to us by accident; it's up to us to participate as co-creators in bringing about what it is we deeply long for; to experience our wholeness and completeness. Forgiveness ultimately frees us."

IMPORTANT CAVEAT: All the above having been said... er... well... you know, technically, written... it's important for the person who's been wronged to remember that in keeping with forgiveness being more for the benefit of the forgiver than it is for the benefit of the forgiven, whether or not one forgives must beentirely one's own choice. As a spiritual practice, and to keep from happening such as what Fr Nouwen herein suggested could happen -- that "[a]slong as we do not forgive those who have wounded us, we carry them with us or, worse, pull them as a heavy load -- then, yes, it is obviously more psychologically and emotionally and spiritually healthy to forgive, if you can. However, do not be pressured into it by anyone!

The process of forgiveness must be entirely voluntary, from the heart, and not at anyone's persistent -- and especially self-interested -- urging. This is particularly relevant in the case of persons who are, for example, abused by someone in their lives... maybe in a church, or a school, or at work, or in/at any other institutional kind of setting; and who are then, subsequently, pressured to forgive their abuser by either the abuser, himself/herself, or by someone in the abuser's group or institution.

Such pressure on the person who was abused is usually self-serving on the part of the person or persons doing said pressuring; usually so that the abused person will not either sue them in court, or report the incident to police, or both. Do not be pressured like that by anyone!

If you are abused, report it to appropriate authorities, and then seek professional help. Or, if the professional help you seek could help you decide both if and/or how to so report, then, fine, do it the other way around, if you like. But whatever you do, get, as quickly as possible, away from those who are any part of the system or group which has harmed you; then get to someplace safe; and then, and only then, start figuring out how to help yourself by reaching-out to safe, professional and appropriate others who can then help you do whatever is the right thing, under the circumstances. Never go to whomever your abuser, or those in his/her group or institution, tell you to go to. Such is a prima facie conflict of interest -- its very definition -- because, remember: they're part -- at least technically, if not actually -- of that which harmed you. They are, by definition, insufficiently disconnected from it all to be in any way helpful to you. They have, inherently, skin in the game, and so should not be listened to, no matter what. Get away from them, and into the hands of someone both disconnected from either them or you, and who's professional and experienced and qualified!

Down in the "sources and related links" section, below, is a link to an excellent article on the John Shore website entitled "Six Things to Know About Sexual Abuse and Forgiveness." Be sure to read both it, and the articles and/or web pages to which that article links you (and read, though with a grain of salt, the comments, too, because there are some pretty smart people who read and comment on John's website). It/they contain some potentially very helpful/useful information.

Bottom line: Persons who are abused have a long road of likely professional help ahead of them in order for them to recover and start to feel whole, again, in life... if that's even possible, depending on both the person and the situation. Yes, of course, I herein encourage forgiveness as both a spiritual practice, and a potentially-helpful recovery tool. However, even if a person either can't or won't forgive, then so what? It's his/her right to either forgive, or not, at entirely his/her option; and no one should ever pressure him/her otherwise. Period. It's a simple as that, really.

For more about forgiveness, just generally, be sure to see the "sources and related links" section, below.

Religion & Spirituality
Philosophy and Philosophers
Filipino Language and Culture

What are the negative traits of the Filipinos?

Answer 1: they have a bad habits like smoking etc.

Answer 2: Considering the americans virtually colonised the philipines during and after WWII I would assume that their 'bad habits' arise from that section of the globe. To even ask that question with regard to another race or ethnic group is at the very least in bad taste and shows ignorance of any equality issues.

Answer 3: Wow, I hope that at least the asker, and the first answerer are Filipino, else the racism, here, is so thick it can be cut with a knife. What an ugly both question and first answer; and the second answerer's "bad taste" and "ignorance" accusation based on "equality issues" smacks almost of the pot calling the kettle black. In any case, Filipinos have no worse "negative traits" than any other humans -- certainly none, in any case, worth culling from the herd of the negative traits of any humans -- and shame on the asker for the premise of the question!

To suggest that any race has inherently "negative traits" -- even only for as long as it takes to ask what they are -- is not only the epitome of racism, but it verily characterizes it. Such questions shouldn't even be asked...

...not because they're politically-incorrect (which, of course they are, but that's not the reason), but, rather, because they assume something as fact...

...sort of like the question, "so, have you stopped beating your wife yet?" assumes. Such questions can't actually fairly be answered. Period.

Filipinos are Asians, no different at their core, than any other Asians; and all Asians are human beings, no different at their core, than any other human beings. They have no "negative traits" which any other race of humans don't also have.

And it is not true that Americans "virtually colonized the Philippines during and after WWII" in any manner that would explain whatever some racist considers to be Filipino "negative traints"... or even positive ones, either. Filipinos have done an excellent job of holding-on to their rich heritage, not withstanding any American presence there. Whatever are Filipino "traits," are not inordinately influenced by Americans.

Filipinos, in fact, are who and what they are in spite of Americans; and for a better understanding of that, do a little research on the Philippine-American War, and of Mark Twain's feelings and actions about it, and his concomitant writing of his thoughtful and moving "The War Prayer" in response.

Philosophy and Philosophers

What are the motives of philosophy?

a system of principles for guidance in practical affairs. It is a system that attempts to understand the fundamental principles of the sciences, the arts and the world that sciences and the arts deal with. It has many branches that explore these principles such as knowledge, reasoning, being in general, beauty and human conduct

Literature and Language
Philosophy and Philosophers

Doubt is the key to knowledge to what extent is this true?

This is true to an extent in that, being doubtful or unsure about something gives one the desire to research and find out as much as they can about it. So, in essence that individual will become more knowledgeable as he seeks the answers to his doubts.

Philosophy and Philosophers
Alternative Religions

How do you create an inductive argument?

you start by creating premises that make the conclusion probable but not necessary (as is the case with deductive arguments).

For example,

Socrates was Greek

Most Greeks ate fish


Socrates probably ate fish

this is an inductive argument, because it is based on probability. the natural sciences frequently use this type of argument


First pick your subject and have ready certain facts which can be put forward for discussion. The facts may be argued for or against, but in the end all come to a general conclusion of the possibility that the facts contain enough evidence to argue the point, certainly enough to satisfy all concerned that the possibility that the evidence put for or against has merrit.

Religion & Spirituality
Philosophy and Philosophers
History of Science
Math History
René Descartes

Why did René Descartes believe in god?

One of his reasons for believing in god is that he knows (or thinks) that God is perfect. Since perfection includes existence, he therefore assumes that God must exist.


Descartes made a series of increasingly unsupportable suppositions to back up his beleief in God:

1. I exist (A supportable statement for an individual - Cogito ergo sum)

2. I have in my mind the notion of a perfect being (The idea that anyone can develop an idea of a perfect being is not provable. The Aztec may have thoght their bloodthirsty gods perfect as well)

3. An imperfect being, like myself, cannot think up the notion of a perfect being (There is no proof although it is believable that humans are not perfect and it is debatable if the idea he has of a perfect being is indeed perfect)

4. Therefore the notion of a perfect being must have originated from the perfect being himself (This is a flight of fancy)

5. A perfect being would not be perfect if it did not exist (Buddhists, for example see perfection in the loss of being)

6. Therefore a perfect being must exist (This does not follow from any of the above statements)

Chickens and Roosters
Philosophy and Philosophers
Paradox and Antithesis

What is the fertilization process for chicken eggs?

The male mounts the hen from behind and stands on her back. The rooster's cloaca transfers semen into the cloaca of the hen. The cloaca is a common receptacle for the intestinal tract, the reproductive system and the urinary system. A spermatozoa sac makes its way up the oviduct and is stored in accessory sex organ in the female. There, the sperm is nourished and released over several days. So the rooster does not have to mate with the hen each time she lays an egg to produce a fertile egg. Fertility only remains high for about 10 days before another mating is needed to increase fertility of the eggs laid. Egg yolks that have a germ cell on the surface are ovulated about every 24 to 26 hours. The spermatozoa fertilize the germ cell, then the albumen, or white of the egg is secreted around the yolk by the reproductive tract. Then the shell membranes and the shell are secreted and deposited as the egg travels down the reproductive tract. The egg is laid back through the cloaca, as mentioned above. This is the way fertile eggs are laid by the hen. The hen would still lay eggs if a rooster were not around, but the eggs would not be fertile.

Philosophy and Philosophers
Famous People

Example of philosophy in life using honesty?

Honesty has been always the best policy. A peaceful mind is a valious treasure.

The Bible
Philosophy and Philosophers

Why is it bad to judge people?

Because when you do, it reflects on yourself and that would also be part of God's job.


The matter in question of "not judging someone" is in the context of "condemnation"... not in the matter of "discernment."

Paul tells God's church to "be discerning" about the things they see, hear and do, all the time... in accordance with the Righteousness of the Scriptures. He tells them to PREPARE themselves for their future responsibility to BE THE JUDGES OF THE WORLD when Jesus finally appoints each one of them Positions of Authority in the Kingdom of God over the nations when He returns to earth with it.

The 1) prophets tells us... 2) Jesus tells us... and 3) Paul tells us:

1) "...JUDGMENT was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints POSSESSED KINGDOM." (Dan.7:22)

2) "...When the Son of Man shall come in His Glory, and all the Holy Angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His Glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations... Then shall the King say to them on His Right Hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from thefoundation of the world." (Matt.25:31-34)

2a) "...he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron..." (Rev.2:26-27)

3) "Do ye not know that THE SAINTS SHALL JUDGE THE WORLD?..." (I Cor.6:2).

The matter of "not judging someone" is one of the ATTITUDE of the one doing the Judging -- it's a "holier-than-thou" attitude of hatred, superiority and condemnation that the person judging holds in his heart over others.

The bottom line of this attitude is in this judge's DENIAL OF THE MERCY AND GRACE OF GOD TO FORGIVE OUR SINS.

If Jesus' Mercy and Forgiveness is not good enough for the condemned of such "judges"... then it certainly doesn't work for the "condemning judges," either.

Jesus did not "condemn" anyone... and His Mercy... and the sin-purging power of His shed Blood through Faith are still being offered to anyone who repents of their sins, turns to Him and cries out to Him for forgiveness.

This is the "judgment call" that Jesus forbids men to make against other men. He forbids us to "CONDEMN" one another... the Judgment call of which automatically comes back upon the one doing the Judging -- thus CONDEMNING HIMSELF [as mentioned in the answer above]!!!

"For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matt.6:14-15)

All men should be making "judgment calls" every day of their lives... in order to know the right or wrong path to take in the walk through life. And those calls should be made in accordance with the laws of God... in harmony with them. The Ten Commandments: His Laws of Love; Love God... Love One Another.

"This is My Commandment, that ye Love One Another, as I have Loved you." (John 15:12)

If Jesus didn't condemn us... and Forgives us, still -- neither do men possess the right to condemn. We may know right from wrong [in accordance with God's Word]... and judge which path we will take in our own lives [and we must constantly make Judgments in these matters every day]. And we may advise others if opportunity arises to do so. But no man may "condemn" another, to deny another man Christ's Salvation. That's when Judgment gets "bad."

Religion & Spirituality
The Bible
Philosophy and Philosophers

Are transgender women created by God?

There are individuals who are born with a variety of syndromes and genetic conditions that involve the sexual organs. This is obviously something over which people have no control. Rarely, there is ambiguity about what most of us take for granted: a clear distinction between physically male and physically female characteristics. How would believers determine that this and other sexual anomalies do not come from god?


There are no sexual anomalies, the answer to creation of Male and Female is defined in Genesis 1:26,27, there is no ambiguity there and there is no transgender. There is perversion of sexual acts and physical body parts, which is ramped this day and age, that is identified in Romans chapter 1. A man remains a man and a woman remains a woman as they were originally designed.

The two don't cross over unless forced through the perversion of the acts of men as are thoroughly defined in Romans 1 as stated above. So the answer to your question is a transgender woman created by God our Father? No she is not. A Transgender woman is an abomination created by men, usually a male who has been augmented with a woman's breasts.

Philosophy and Philosophers
Brain Teasers and Logic Puzzles

What does it mean in philosophy and perceptual psychology to ask 'If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it does it make a sound'?

The question in philosophy and psychology is that while a tree falling "should make" sound, the existence of the sound can depend on its ability to be perceived (now or later). While physics states that a tree falling will create the vibrations we call sound, their existence as sound is only recognized when perceived (heard) and cannot be absolutely postulated unless and until this occurs. This can be extended beyond this example, as far as the metaphysical concepts of existence and perception, e.g. without someone or something there to perceive it, does the tree even exist at all?


The philosophical and perceptual psychological background about this question:

Philosopher George Berkeley wrote A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (1710). He wrote, in part, "But, say you, surely there is nothing easier than for me to imagine trees, for instance, in a park [...] and nobody by to perceive them. [...] The objects of sense exist only when they are perceived; the trees therefore are in the garden [...] no longer than while there is somebody by to perceive them."

"The objects of sense..." refers to objects or events that we perceive with the 5 senses--hearing, sight, smell, taste, touch. However, as a philosophy question, raises the issue of perception in philosophy: Does something still exist if we cannot perceive it with one of our senses. And, just what do we perceive...

For twenty-years after Berkeley's writing, philosophers took up " consideration of the emergence of meaning" (quote from Wikipedia). In 1754, William Fossett paraphrased Berkeley's writing in Fossett's writing, Natural States. However, it should be noted neither of these philosophers actually stated the quote in question ("If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound").

Over 100 years later, in June 1883, a question was posed in The Chautauquan magazine, "If a tree were to fall on an island where there were no human beings would there be any sound." [Italics added].

This idea in 1700s-1800s was seminal work about the idea of perception. It has lead to a host of similarly phrased questions posed to students, first in Universities to philosophy and psychology students, and then to high school students.
The point is to generate thinking about problems of perception.

Some similarly stated questions include:

  1. If a tree falls in the forest... [some people add other details here such as distance away] but no one HEARS it...does it make a sound.
  2. If a leaf falls in the forest but no one is present to SEE it, does the leaf still fall, gathering with other leaves on the forest floor.
  3. If you SMELL the strong fragrance of aftershave, but you see no one nearby, do you assume a man just passed by before you arrived there?
  4. If you experience the distinctive TASTE of onions in a casserole but did not see anyone make or bake the food, can you be certain the cook added fresh onions to it.
  5. If you put your hand into a hole in a closed box and you TOUCH something that feels cold and wet, can you assume it came from a block of ice.
  6. (You can probably think of more of your own 'If'-perception questions.)

In each question, it seeks to make us aware of how perception affects how we interpret and assign meaning to ordinary events and experiences--or, to experimental experiences scientists or researchers create for us. It asks us to consider events and meanings of events, even if we personally do not witness or experience them, e.g.
  • The tree no one heard still thudded; the leaf still detached from the tree without requiring our sight; aftershave is typically associated with men, even if we missed seeing the man pass by; the food might have contained onion salt versus chopped onions; and lastly, everything that is 'cold and wet' is not ice.
  • Likewise, Blacks and women endured years of oppression... Events halfway around the world, like wars, take place even if we don't see the fighting.... Nazis killed millions of Jews in the Holocaust... Babies and children still die of starvation in some countries... etc.

A year after The Chautauquan magazine posited the question, magazine Scientific American took up the ongoing [until then strictly philosophical] debate in 1884, providing a science explanation for sound, ""Sound is vibration, transmitted to our senses through the mechanism of the ear, and recognized as sound only at our nerve centers. The falling of the tree or any other disturbance will produce vibration of the air. If there be no ears to hear, there will be no sound." (Scientific American).


Below, other contributors take up various positions, including strictly scientific points of view.

Related Response to the above:
This is a philosophy question. Yes, events happen even though we are not paying attention. This is speaking straight logic. However, it may just depend on the individual's concept of reality.

A Question About Evidence
How do we know said tree fell if no one was around to witness it, or even hear it? It's a philosophical question, so it does puzzle the mind. It's like exercise for the mind: the more you use it the stronger it gets.

Another answer that attempts to bridge perception with science:

Although this question is often restated as a crude satire, "If Helen Keller fell over in a forest would there be any noise?", the answer stays the same. A sound does not depend on the perception by a sentient hearer. Examining the question, there are three conditions that set the scenario:

  1. A tree falls - It is presumed that the tree falls through other trees branches and strikes the ground in a manner that makes satisfying "Thunk!" all of which activities generate sound waves and or vibrations. This is technically a sound or colloquially a noise.
  2. in the woods - This is an ecosystem filled with receptors some definitely sentient (humans) and some of debatable levels of sentience (deer, raccoons etc.) all of which have the capacity of hearing
  3. and nobody is there to hear it - Fully sentient beings, humans, are excluded but animals are not excluded.

and a question - does it still make a sound.

In physics, the creation of sound waves in a medium constitutes making a sound or noise. In the smaller definition that a sound can only be present if it is heard, the question only postulates the absence of sentient (human) receptors. The existence of hearing animals in a forest environment would be anticipated/ Therefor the sound would have been heard and even under the more limited definition (strictly physics) there would have been a sound.

Sound (noise) is mechanical energy. It is physically real. A source of sound can (will) make the sound whether we are there to hear it or not. Or whether we can hear it or not. That's more of a "physics" answer, but it is a "real" as anything you are likely to encounter.

The definition of sound is the periodic compression and rarefaction of air. Thus whether a person or animal is around to hear the sound (the experience, sometimes referred to as qualia) or not, does not change the fact that the air is still moved in this way, and a sound is produced.

Most basic answer:
No, because the definition of sound is "something that you hear." No one's there to hear the tree fall, so the tree doesn't make a sound. This answer is valid as long as no details are observed technically.
The answer depends upon the particular definition of sound, whether it is the scientific (created vibrations) or the pragmatic (sound is the interpretation of these vibrations). There is no argument that a vibration occurs which will generate sound under any set of normal circumstances. Some opinions and views follow:

One Possible Answer
Everything that vibrates the air creates the potential for sound, regardless of what conscious being is there to perceive it in the first place. If there is nobody is there to perceive it occurring, then it could not exist as sound, only vibration.

Sound is a subjective interaction with matter. All that sound is, is vibrations through a medium, without humans to perceive it, those vibrations that we call sound, when the tree fell, would make vibrations, but "sound" as we know it, couldn't exist, since no conscious being was there to interpret those vibrations.

A Simpler Answer
For example, if a Deaf person was in the woods and a tree fell, would it make a sound? No, because their auditory system would not pick up the vibrations that make sound. They may feel the lower vibrations in their body, but not the sound.

A Personal Point of View Answer
No matter what, whether heard or not, the tree would make a sound. This conclusion would make sense due to the fact if a tree falls in the forest, and someone IS around to hear it, it WOULD make a sound! The "someone" does not have to be there! As an example, picture yourself as a child living with your mum. Your TV is rather loud, and tunes out all other sounds. Your mum is shouting to you from another room. You can't hear her, but she is making a sound! And maybe you're thinking, "Well the TV is tuning out her voice, so that's why!" Not true! Now picture the same thing, except the TV is not on, and you are lounging on the couch, not deep in thought. Your mum yells at you again, asking for a favor from the upstairs bedroom. Though no other noise is being made except for hers, you still can't hear her! In this description, You're not around, or close enough, to hear your mum's voice! Yet she is still making a sound!

The scenarios above would make a sound, because mum, herself, could hear her own voice. So, I do not agree with that answer and support all the perspectives above the last one. To put it simply, vibrating air is only vibrating air. That does not mean that it is making a sound, because a sound requires sensory organs and a nervous system to process the vibrations and then interpret those vibrations as sound.

Here is my analogy: If a person blows a dog whistle, does it make a sound? Not to a human, but only if there is a dog close enough to hear it.Then it would make a sound.

So the answer really should be, in my opinion: if a tree falls in the woods it does not make a sound unless there is anything from an insect to a human being to hear it. It Depends on Factors Involved It depends how hard the tree fell. What if it fell so hard that it can be heard half way around the world? Also are we assuming that the vibration in the air is not sound until it reaches our ear? What is the speed of sound? Is a ball not a ball until we catch it? Is wind not wind until we feel it? Does a chair exist to a blind individual until the individual sits in it? Sound exists whether we are around or not. It is only the matter of if anyone is around to translate the sound into information. Another Opinion I think that it does make a sound because if it makes a sound when we are there then why would it not it if we were not there?

If I knock on wood we all hear the same thing so we cannot change what it sounds like on our own (maybe small differences but barely).

So the sound is not completely in our mind; meaning that it must make a sound no matter if anyone is there or not

Really it Would
The reason it would is the same reason you don't hear much Japanese in America. Some one makes that sound and others hear it, but you don't. The answer is yes because you may not hear it and no one else will, but it will make a noise. It's the same as if you weren't near the forest but another was and a tree falls. They hear but you don't. When they tell you they heard a tree fall you believe them. That's because that person heard it but, you did not. Another Opinion Says No When the tree falls and it finally makes impact with the ground a vibration forms (in the same way ripples form when a rock is thrown into still water). This vibration sets out from all directions of the point of impact, if there is a living being within the range that the vibration can travel it will then be interpreted as a noise. If there is no living being within the distance the vibration can travel it will not be interpreted as a "noise", to be a noise it must first be experienced/perceived. So the new question is 'If a vibration is caused by something in the woods is and no one can hear or feel it is it real'? O.K. the only real answer to any metaphysical questions such as these is that consciousness makes the sound into how it will be perceived. Without consciousness the vibration could not be interpreted as a sound. Your conscious thought (the voice in your head asking this question) was the answer to the question all along. Answer Yes, it does. Sound is mechanical energy. And sound will be created when the tree falls. If no one is there to hear it, that does not negate the fact that the sound was created and radiates out from where the tree fell.

No "opinions" are needed. This is a question that is very straightforward. There is nothing rhetorical about this query, nor is there anything mysterious or metaphysical involved. The question asks about what would happen if a tree fell in the forest, and we have to assume it did to run this "thought experiment" to its conclusion. And that conclusion is that there would, indeed, be sound. It's not rocket science. According to Definition of Sound, No. According to Merriam-Webster, sound is the sensation perceived by the sense of hearing. So that means that vibrating air is just that, mechanical vibrations of air molecules. When those vibrations are perceived by the sense of hearing, then they become a sensation; the sensation of sound. That is why we have an auditory cortex in the neocortex of the brain that interprets those vibrations as a tree falling, a bird singing, or the wind whistling through the leaves.

Here is an example: If you never heard a tree fall as it crashed to the ground and you were standing in the woods blindfolded as one fell, you would hear noise. The noise would be the vibrations in the air of the tree hitting the ground. Most likely you would hear something, but you would not know what it was. But, if you had heard enough similar noises before, your brain would then be able to identify the vibrations as being produced by a tree falling. Then it would be a sound.

So, going by the Merriam-Webster definition, the tree would make air molecules vibrate, but would not make a 'sound' if it fell in the woods and nobody was there to hear it.

  • The dictionary definition of hearing is "a special sensation, produced by stimulation of the auditory nerve; the stimulus (waves of sound) acting not directly on the nerve, but through the medium of the endolymph on the delicate epithelium cells, constituting the peripheral terminations of the nerve." The sound we hear is the interpretation of the stimulus we receive, which can only be made by some cognition, i.e.- Information processing which must be linked in some way with a stored memory.

Therefore I reason that though the tree will still cause the wave or disturbance of air as it falls; the fact that noise is merely an interpretation of the wave via a sensory organ processed by a developed intelligence, then it follows that if there is no one to hear it fall and process the disturbance it causes, then it does not make a noise.
  • Naturally, events happen regardless of whether someone is there to witness them. Sound is a wave that forms due to an action (the friction of the air with our vocal cords produces our voice, and the collision between the tree and the ground produce the sound of the impact). So, if a tree falls it will sound, even if no one hears it it will still have had a sound. The only place where there is no sound is a vacuum, so if a tree falls in the moon then it would not sound, regardless of you being there to hear it or not.
  • Even if there is no human to hear or see the tree fall, there is another creature who will hear it. A falling tree may not make a difference to us humans, but it could be a lost home to a squirrel living inside of the tree, which would hear a massive thud as the mass of wood came tumbling down to the forest floor. And now with the population of people at almost 7 billion, it is unlikely for no one to notice a tree fall. But if the tree fell in space, than no one would hear, because sound requires oxygen to resonate, so that organisms can hear it. So what if a tree falls on a planet with less oxygen, say Venus. The sound of the falling tree (depending on what distance you were listening to it from) would be less softer, and being feet from it would still require hearing aids to hear. But it doesn't matter, because the tree would just evaporate into Venus' harsh atmosphere. The noxious gas clouds would melt the tree, or the heat would burn it instantly, therefore concluding that a tree (theoretically speaking) would neither make a sound, nor exist in open space in the first place, because of the extreme temperatures and climate. Trees would only weigh more on Jupiter compared to earth, and if one was planted on their moon, it would be possible for an astronaut to carry it. And it could not fall, it would would just float around in the space time continuum, until being sucked up into a black hole vortex, eaten alive the tree would shrink to no size and infinite density. And do not forget about the civil rights of trees. Talking about them falling is like deciphering whether a person would make a sound if it fell in the forest with no one else around.
  • I looked up sound in the dictionary and part of the definition was something that was heard. If no one was in the forest then it did not make a SOUND. It may have made a sound WAVE yet not a sound!
  • Yes. The fact that there is no-one there that can hear it does not affect whether the falling tree makes a sound. Humans are not the only species capable of hearing anyway.
  • Yes And No Because there is no one around to hear it and yes because of its greatness so it will make a huge sound but nobody will be able to hear it
  • Yes because there are animals living in the forest so they will hear it. the tree will also produce sound because the sound waves will still move. [sound waves do not care if there is no one around to hear them]
  • Anything that falls will of course make a noise, even if it is too soft to hear, if a tree falls in a forest it is going to hit the ground and make a noise, or if it bangs against another tree it will rustle those leaves, if you drop your remote on the carpet does it make a noise? Yes, if you drop a pencil on the ground, will it make a noise? Yes! even if no one is around to hear it it will make a noise! those molecules will still carry the noise to where they eventually fade out! So in my opinion, it will make a noise!

It depends on how you define "sound". If sound is something that sends out a vibration through the air that reverberates off of our ear drums, there there is no sound. But if "sound" just means that vibration through the air, regardless to whether there are ears to detect it, then yes, it makes a sound.
no because a sound is only a sound if the air waves vibrate the bones in the ear.

Yes, the falling tree makes sound. Sound is mechanical energy. It's the compression and rarefaction of, in this case, air. The falling tree is converting potential (positional) energy into kinetic energy, and some of the kinetic energy is the mechanical energy of sound. The falling tree makes sound. The sound is there whether anyone is present to hear it or not. Anyone who believes anything differently 1) does not understand the question, 2) does not understand the terminology and the meaning of the words, or 3) is lost in philosophy.

And, if you wish to prove it, set up a recording device and place a timed explosive device around the tree. leave the area well before the explosion. Return after the explosion and if the recording device has not been destroyed (by placing it too close to the tree) you should be able to play back the recording, and if all went as planned, you should hear a loud thud shortly after a sharp explosion. Do NOT try to explain your reasoning behind this experiment to the authorities!

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