Morbid philosophical aviation question


If a plane crashes, everyone dies instantly and there’s no one around to witness the crash, does the impact make a sound?


As someone who wrote his 3rd year Aerospace Engineering dissertation on acoustics and took an optional module on acoustics as part of his masters year I would say yes but I’m throwing it open to debate. Certain philosophers will disagree I’m sure.


That’s indeed a bit of a morbid question… But what is the philosophic idea behind the fact that there would be no sound? Everything that hits something makes some sort of sound (at least on earth), even when nobody is around.

I would agree if you would describe it as a not registered sound because there is no human to register it, but physically it does make a sound.


I know another version of this question;

If a man speaks a sentence without being overheard by a woman, is he still wrong?


“The first law of thermodynamics, also known as Law of Conservation of Energy, states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; energy can only be transferred or changed from one form to another.”
Sound energy is just kinetic energy transferred from the impact. So yes, the impact makes a sound.


Seemingly my question is being answered by sensibly (science/engineering) minded people (I’m not just saying that because I agree, see my second post) rather than philosopher types. Maybe not every forum/ message board on the internet is stupid/crazy


So you want crazy philosopher right? :crazy_face:

It depends on the definition of sound: if you mean sound as waves of air moving through the, eh, air, then yes, we would all say that the crash would move some air around. However, if you define sound as those specific airwaves travelling through space until they reach someone’s ear, where they will be interpreted as a crash-y sound similar to those already imprinted in the brain by all the bad tv-shows everybody watches, then no, no sound will be made since nobody’s around to actually interpret the waves.

I, however, fully support the ‘Of course there will be sound, don’t mess with laws of nature’-theory :smile: