[Ads-l] "If a tree falls..."

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Aug 23 09:27:46 EDT 2020


Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> Great finds.
>
> Was "philosopher" still likely to cover "scientist" in 1849?

Yes, I think so. Here is one datapoint. In July 1849 a person named
"Arago" was described as a "French philosopher". The referent was
probably François Arago who by modern terminology would be called a
scientist.

Date: July 1849
Journal: The Genesee Farmer
https://books.google.com/books?id=jHMXAQAAIAAJ&q=Arago#v=snippet&
[Begin excerpt]
Arago, a French philosopher says, that it is highly probable that a
silent and gradual discharge of a thunder-cloud is often effected by
the points of lightning-rods, and thus an explosion is prevented.
[End excerpt]

François Arago
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran%C3%A7ois_Arago

Garson



> JL
>
> On Sat, Aug 22, 2020 at 4:41 PM ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Here is a thematic match in the same time period. This 1849 citation
> > implicitly considers the question of whether a thunderclap
> > accompanying a lightning bolt exists even if "no one hears it". The
> > piece suggests that "philosophers" suppose that the thunderclap does
> > exist.
> >
> > [ref] 1849 May 14, Newark Daily Advertiser, Section: Correspondence of
> > the Newark Daily Advertiser, Title: New York Anniversaries, Date: May
> > 12, 1849, Quote Page 2, Column 1, Newark, New Jersey. (GenealogyBank)
> > [/ref]
> >
> > [Begin excerpt]
> > On the contrary, I observed one speaker—a celebrated traveller in the
> > Orient, who from his warm gesticulation, and other infallible
> > symptoms, was evidently overflowing with intelligence, and on fire
> > with his subject, yet from feebleness of the vocal organ was little
> > better than a lump of latent heat; or, perhaps, a specimen of that
> > summer evening lightning which is supposed by philosophers to be in
> > fact accompanied by a report, though no one hears it.
> > [End excerpt]
> >
> > Garson
> >
> > On Sat, Aug 22, 2020 at 4:08 PM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > The tantalizing 1853 item discovered by JL shows up a bit earlier here:
> > >
> > > Eastern State Journal, White Plains, NY, May 6, 1853, p. 1, col. 4
> > >
> > https://fultonhistory.com/Newspapers%2023/White%20Plains%20NY%20Eastern%20State%20Journal/White%20Plains%20NY%20Eastern%20State%20Journal%201852-1855/White%20Plains%20NY%20Eastern%20State%20Journal%201852-1855%20-%200167.pdf
> > >
> > >
> > > On Sat, Aug 22, 2020 at 3:59 PM ADSGarson O'Toole <
> > adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > Jonathan Lighter  wrote:
> > > > > A little earlier:
> > > > >
> > > > > 1853  _Green Mountain Freeman_  (Montpelier, Vt.) (June 23) 4:  "If a
> > > > tree
> > > > > falls, and no one hears it, does it make a noise?" The above
> > question was
> > > > > announced in the _Rondout Courier_,  for discussion, last evening,
> > in the
> > > > > debating wing of the Lyceum of that village.  Three disputants were
> > named
> > > > > on each side.
> > > > >
> > > > > Credited to the _Poughkeepsie American_.
> > > > >
> > > > > That's entertainment!
> > > >
> > > > Excellent finds, JL.
> > > >
> > > > Way back in 2005 (before I was a member of this list), Fred Shapiro
> > > > posted an inquiry on this topic.
> > > > http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2005-May/049340.html
> > > >
> > > > Stephen Goranson mentioned the pertinence of Bishop Berkeley's "A
> > > > Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge" (1710) which
> > > > did discuss the imagination, perception, and the existence of a trees.
> > > > http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2005-May/049341.html
> > > >
> > > > Benjamin Zimmer noted that Berkeley "didn't say anything about the
> > > > sound of falling trees". Ben listed some citations beginning with June
> > > > 1883.
> > > > http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2005-May/049346.html
> > > >
> > > > The Yale Book of Quotation has an entry which refers to the philosophy
> > > > of George Berkeley and presents the June 1883 citation and later
> > > > citations.
> > > >
> > > > Wikipedia has an entry which refers to Berkeley's 1710 treatise and
> > > > lists the June 1883 citation together with later citations.
> > > > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_a_tree_falls_in_a_forest
> > > >
> > w.americandialect.org
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
>
>
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


More information about the Ads-l mailing list