“If a tree falls in the forest…
… and there is no one there to hear it, did it make any sound?” Ah, the intellectual pigmyism of philosophers. Perhaps they should ask the squirrel that just got knocked out of its nest. Sound is propagated by vibrations through matter. When someone hears a tree fall, they are hearing the vibrations in the air caused by the tree’s motion and impact with the ground and surrounding trees. Simple physics. How dumb does someone have to be to even compose the question that the air will not vibrate because they are not there to ‘experience’ the sound? And I say dumb because philosophers are generally supposed to be edjercated. Too bad their edjercation didn’t teach them anything.
Truth is what is.
Not what you think it is. Not what you want it to be. Not what is popular. Truth is not defined or limited to what anyone or everyone knows. Truth does not go away because of the ignorance of the speaker.
And Bill Clinton notwithstanding, there is truth as to what the definition of is is.
So how do you know what truth is? Assuming you are of normal perceptive ability, not schizophrenic, delusional, demented or otherwise altered, you should trust your senses. But this is actually harder to do than it sounds. Behavioral research abounds with experiments showing that participants will alter their perception of a situation in order to ‘fit in’ with a group. And therein lies the problem in much of the world. The surrender of one’s own perceptions for the perceptions of other for the perceived benefit of ‘fitting in’. To belong. To curry the favor of peers, or superiors. It is what makes people expend time wondering if falling trees make noise. After spending a lifetime surrendering one’s own existence for the existence of others, it’s not surprising that some people begin to doubt existence itself.
This tendency to alter one’s own perception to conform with others should be the source of the skepticism that is supposed to be the basis of scientific analysis. Not skepticism about whether the world is or is not. But skepticism about conventional wisdoms and widely held beliefs about the world. In a person’s own mind, they need to ability to hold a consistent universe against which conventional wisdoms are tested. This is the bullsh*t meter. It’s what separates the independent from the gullible.