News from the Natural World: Animal Philosophy: We take a look at the greatest philosophical question of the animal kingdom.
When a skyscraper falls in the city and there is no animal to hear it, does it make a sound? This question is a popular philosophical question for animals. They have been asking it since the first skyscraper was built in the USA. The Home Insurance Building, built-in 1885 and located on the corner of Adams and LaSalle Streets in Chicago, Illinois, went down in history as the world’s first modern skyscraper. Ever since then animals have wondered, what if there were no rats around when it collapsed? Would it make a noise? Olga the Owl our intrepid philosopher set out to investigate.
Animal Philosophy: When a Skyscraper Falls in the City
First Olga questioned, does it make a noise? The answer is quite simple if answering on a physical level: Yes and No. Yes, it makes a sound, that being a disturbance in the fluidic medium, air. When the skyscraper falls it causes a disturbance in the air pressure field in the city and that pressure field emanates away from the fallen skyscraper. But does this manifest as noise if the ear of a Rat, Pigeon or Sparrowhawk is nowhere to be seen? Well if the sound is vibrations, then the falling skyscraper certainly does make a sound, because it produces vibrations in the air. So if the sound is what animals hear, and no one is around to hear the skyscraper fall, then it doesn’t make a sound!