Thesis he was performing official duties. The essay

Thesis statement

This paper evaluates the philosophical puzzle, “If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?” It gives details on how the puzzle is an epistemological problem. The puzzle raises concern how experiences influences a mind on the reality. The puzzle enlightens the human mind on what the limitations of the mind on knowledge are. John Locke, a philosopher, provides the ideas that bring light in solving the puzzle. Locke reveals how the human mind assumes that it has the knowledge basing it on experiences.

Sources

Encyclopedia or similar comprehensive works

“Social Epistemology”. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Ed. Alvin Goldman. Stanford: Stanford University, 2006. Plato.Stanford.edu. Web. 2 Feb. 2012.

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This source is effective in providing foreword and complex information that John Locke discusses as a philosopher. The source explains the main themes in epistemology.

Secondary sources

Walker, William. Locke, Literary Criticism, and Philosophy. England: Cambridge University Press. 1990. Print.

This source provides further understanding of John Locke’s arguments concerning epistemology. The book provides supportive information and critiques of Locke’s ideas in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.

Primary sources

Locke, John. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. New York: Prometheus Books. 1994. Print.

This is John Locke’s own work written when he was performing official duties. The essay demonstrates how Locke perceived the source, assurance and extents of human knowledge.

Journal article database

Winchester, Scott J. “Locke and the Innartists”. History of Philosophy Quarterly, 2.4(1985): 411-420. Print.

The database consist of various scholarly articles that provide information in diverse fields, among them philosophy and also epistemology. There are articles concerning epistemology and contributions in reaction to John Locke work in philosophy. Some of the articles are contemporary while others are peer reviewed articles.

Part B

Introduction

The subjective and objective knowledge may be challenging to determine given certain circumstances. The statement “If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?” is an epistemological puzzle that would provoke one’s mind. Subjective perspective hinders a mind from telling what is factual and what is false.

John Locke discusses philosophy in knowledge. His ideas are relevant in the discussion of the epistemological puzzle, “if a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?” This paper will discuss how the philosophical puzzle is an epistemological problem and how John Locke would respond to the question.

Epistemology

“If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?” is a subject that causes one to inquire on reality of observation and knowledge. The problem causes the human mind to make a distinction between the subjective view and the objective view. The puzzle makes the human being tell between reality and experience. It is easy for a human being to assume that a tree always makes a sound when it falls. In the puzzle, there is no human being when the tree falls; hence the puzzle is if the tree makes sound. The puzzle tests human beings ability to differentiate reality from false ideas (Locke 41).

There are two views that can be adopted in solving the puzzle. The first is rational view. The puzzle can be viewed rationally where a human being uses reasoning and logic, as opposed to experiences. The second is the empirical view. A human being who uses empirical view to solve the puzzle will draw examples from their experiences with a falling tree. Their experiences with a falling tree will be very important in determining the facts.

Epistemology is a topic that deals with the study of nature and its environment in relation to the acquisition of knowledge through experience. The value of knowledge will be necessary in responding to the epistemological puzzle. The answers that will be obtained from the puzzle will make the human being reason. They will question the answers they give to the puzzle. This is because there lacks agreement on whether the tree make a sound or not.

John Locke’s view

Locke in his youth desired to join the seminary, and later chose to study medicine and became a physician. He later became a writer and devoted his time to writing. Concerning epistemology, Locke regards philosophy as the discipline that reveals knowledge. The human mind is significant in philosophy.

Epistemology will determine if the human mind is capable of knowing and the limits of knowledge the mind can understand. Locke’s background as a physician may have influenced his position on epistemology. Locke dwells on sensory experience as opposing to logic and reason. Direct sensory experience is viewed as a source of knowledge. Reliable knowledge can be derived from experiments and testing (Winchester 411).

Locke believes that human beings are not born with innate ideas. Lock describes the human mind as a blank slate which he refers to as tabula rasa. All experiences are recorded on the surface. Human beings are born with instincts and knowledge is obtained from experience.

As a result, Locke argues that the ideas are gained through experience. Experience is the main source of input for the human mind. The experiences are in two forms. Experiences are in two forms; from the inner world and experience from the external world. Experiences from the inner world can be explained as senses. Examples of the inner world include doubt, pain, fear, anticipating, loving, remembering and planning.

Experiences from the external world include notions such as round, red, smooth, large and heavy. The ideas which constitute the knowledge exist in the mind in the consciousness. Therefore, knowledge as presented by Locke is in the form of sensation or a reflection. In relation to the puzzle, it would be argued that a tree would make a sound when it falls. This is because a human being knows that the tree would make sound when it falls from their experience.

The human mind accumulates knowledge from when it is young and as it grows. The experiences of the tree falling would hinder the human from setting apart the truth from inaccurate concepts. It is possible that the tree will not make any sound because there is no one to hear.

Human beings mind will derive meaning from the experience and perceive that the tree made a sound. Locke argues that the experiences in the human mind hinder them from recognizing new ideas. Humans thinking of the tree making a sound solve the puzzle using their experiences use innate ideas which hamper their minds from recognizing that other possibilities could occur (“Social Epistemology”).

Locke would approach the solution of the puzzle by identifying the simple and the complex ideas. Human beings identify experiences to solve the puzzle utilize the simple ideas. Simple ideas that constitute the hearing of the sound when the tree falls can be used to solve the puzzle. From the experiences, a person will see the tree fall and expect to hear the sound.

A human being using innate ideas will anticipate hearing a sound when the tree falls. Locke reveals that seeing the tree fall is an experience that affects the way the human mind solves the puzzle. The experiences will be considered simple concepts that are combined to make a conclusion. Experiences of seeing the tree fall and hearing the sound together with the absence of a human being to hear the sound are the simple ideas used by the mind to make a conclusion.

Locke considers a situation when the tree falls in the presence of a human being and the tree falls in the absence of a human being. The mind will compare whether the conclusion will be similar in the case with or without a witness. The simple ideas that Locke provides are necessary in gaining knowledge (Walker 45).

Moreover, one should begin with the specific details and move on to the general knowledge. Human mind should change focus from perceived innate ideas. Moving from own subjective ideas will enable the mind develop a process of determining facts from lies. The process of the mind will make a distinction between the known and the unknown. It is possible to recognize ideas that are beyond the understanding of the human mind if the process is used in decision making in the case of solving the puzzle.

The existence of things exists as either primary or secondary. Things with primary quality include the size, location, speed and shape. The primary qualities affect the falling of the tree. Secondary qualities which are obtained from the primary qualities are derived from the senses. They include color, hearing and taste. For instance, the fall could be loud. Secondary qualities can be used to determine if the tree will make sound.

Locke’s solution to the puzzle would include how human beings perceive certain names and connect them with concepts. In the case of the falling tree, human mind recognizes that when something falls it makes sound. The notion of falling is connected with making sound after a fall. The mind then solves the puzzle by concluding that the tree made sound because it fell. Names used by individuals are given meaning and when used people understand since the meaning is common.

The use of a word increases people understanding of a situation. Words are useful in communicating ideas and when used, they increase knowledge concerning a situation. When the word fall and tree are used, the human mind will deduce that a sound will be heard. Furthermore, the outcome of the tree and fall will be a sound as the mind has experienced in the past.

Locke believes the use of senses is important in explaining a situation. The case of the tree falling requires the hearing sense to determine if it actually makes a sound. Hearing the sound when the tree falls will solve the puzzle. In this case, there is no witness to hear the sound of the tree when it falls.

Therefore, knowledge of the sound is stored in mind from experiences. The sound will be perceived to be heard since the mind will process simple ideas and come up with the complex idea. The mind senses that sounds were made by the falling tree from the collection of simple ideas emanating from the situation. Additional arguments point out that a person who has never heard a tree fall before would not assume that the tree made a sound.

The simple idea of the circumstances will be important in solving the puzzle. A combination of the simple ideas of the senses is what Locke would use to solve the puzzle. A human being’s functioning of the ears will be important. The solution of the puzzle will depend on the ability to hear. A deaf person will not solve the puzzle in a similar way as a hearing person.

The power of the senses should not be ignored. The senses act a source of input from the external world. The information on the senses is stored in the brain and is useful in solving a puzzle. A puzzle is solved based on ideas and knowledge. The human mind has knowledge that a tree can fall and when it falls it makes sound.

Sound made by the tree is recognized by the hearing senses. The mind keeps a record of experiences like the sound and can be remembered even in the absence of sound. Similarly, it can be argued that the tree made sound in the absence of a human being since the human mind records the sounds obtained from the senses which is recorded in the mind.

Conclusion

Epistemology deals with how nature relates with the acquisition of knowledge. The epistemological puzzle that “If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?” makes human being question their knowledge and exposes their limitation in knowledge.

The puzzle can be solved using rational or empirical view. Rational view will use reasoning and logic while the empirical view will experiment and observe. John Locke’s ideas on epistemology are that reliable knowledge can be obtained from experience. Sensory experiences are a main source of knowledge. Locke believes that people are not born with innate ideas.

People acquire knowledge through experience. Experiences are obtained from the inner world and from the external world. A person can solve the puzzle by arguing that a tree will make a sound when it falls because they have experienced a tree fall and make sound. Using the experiences to solve the puzzle will hinder a person from realizing new ideas or other possibilities.

The puzzle can also be solved by identifying simple ideas that make up the complex ideas. Simple ideas include; seeing a tree fall, hearing the sound of a tree fall in the past and considering that there is no one to hear the tree fall. The puzzle will be solved differently if a person has not heard a tree fall, like in the case of a deaf person. Understanding the primary and the secondary qualities in the puzzle can be useful in soling the puzzle.

Secondary qualities derived from the primary qualities can solve the puzzle. Human beings relate certain names with specific knowledge. The names tree and fall will provoke the mind that there is a sound when the tree falls. Hearing senses is an important source of knowledge. When a human being hears, the sound is recorded. A person who heard a tree fall before will assume the tree made sound.

Works Cited

Locke, John. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. New York: Prometheus Books, 1994. Print.

“Social Epistemology”. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Ed. Alvin Goldman. Stanford: Stanford University, 2006. Plato.Stanford.edu. Web. 2 Feb. 2012.

Walker, William. Locke, Literary Criticism, and Philosophy. England: Cambridge University Press, 1990. Print.

Winchester, Scott J. “Locke and the Innartists”. History of Philosophy Quarterly, 2.4(1985): 411-420. Print.