• Joker25
    1
    If the future still hasn't arrived, can I know for sure what's going to happen? I know belief in future events by itself can create certainty for some people, but how can I exclude the possibility of being wrong if the future is yet to arrive? It's a question that, every now and then, comes to mind and I still don't have a definite answer for it. Sometimes I feel bothered by the absence of an answer, thinking about how I'm not certain of specific things such as my parents' everlasting love for me.
  • Josh Alfred
    39
    I look at the universe and I think of it as outcomes and their causes. Elon Musk said recently, in so many words, that he imagines the future branching out into many outcomes and than he thinks of which one are likely to occur.

    I have been interested in Futurism and Transhumanism for some time now. I think we are getting better at predicting the future than ever before, but there will always be events that we can not predict. For example, the motion of gases is far less predictable than the motions of solids.

    So we can conclude that somethings are just more predictable than others.
    Your parents loved you for periods of time t(n) and the more time that passes with them loving you the more likely that their love will continue (represent that mathematically).

    However, throw in other variables and that probability function becomes more alterable, and less predictable.

    Good choice of inquiry, mate. I do look forward to it get going somewhere, where though I do not know.

    ;) xD
  • Bitter Crank
    7k
    I'm not certain of specific things such as my parents' everlasting love for meJoker25

    Past performance is the best predictor of future performance, but as the investment disclaimers say, "Your results may vary". So, your parents' past love is predictive of their future love. I am quite sure that if you were to try very hard and persistently, you could probably put a stop to their love. And anyway, their love for you can't be everlasting, since they will not exist forever, and neither will you (or me).

    In a nutshell, the answer to your question "Is it possible to be certain about the future?" is no.

    In cheap, machine generated book reviews (it seems like that, anyway) the text will say, "... changed the world forever"; or "After that, she was never the same". As Eric Vuillard says, "We never fall into the same abyss twice" after Heraclitus, "We never step into the same river twice". It isn't that the future is just too quirky to predict. It's that the present is always changing as it becomes the future, and therefore we can not be 100% sure of what will happen next, never mind what will happen a year, a decade, a century, or a millennium from now.

    Anything changing changes the world forever, if you look at things close enough. If you drop a cup and it breaks, the world is ever so slightly changed, and it stays changed. On a larger scale, we have added many billions of tons of CO2 to the atmosphere, and we continue to add more. Some things about the future that once seemed secure (the future of agriculture in North America or India) now seem doubtful if we project climate trends a ways. The changes of the past and the present time will remain forever. Even if you fix the broken cup, even if CO2 was reduced to pre-industrial levels, the world will still have been changed.

    Does that make sense to you?
  • S
    6.9k
    If the future still hasn't arrived, can I know for sure what's going to happen? I know belief in future events by itself can create certainty for some people, but how can I exclude the possibility of being wrong if the future is yet to arrive? It's a question that, every now and then, comes to mind and I still don't have a definite answer for it. Sometimes I feel bothered by the absence of an answer, thinking about how I'm not certain of specific things such as my parents' everlasting love for me.Joker25

    No, it's not possible to be certain of the future, except psychologically for some people under the right circumstances. But it's always possible to be wrong about the future.

    I don't really see why you've found that so difficult to answer when I've found it so easy.

    Anyway, if you want a reference, David Hume said a thing or two relating to this topic.
  • Terrapin Station
    6k
    Logical certainty about the future isn't possible.

    Psychological certainty is, but psychological certainty doesn't imply anything about what will actually be the case. It's just what someone is convinced of.
  • gloaming
    101
    I am certain that the future will unravel as it will. How it will unravel is what is uncertain.
  • sime
    229
    The obvious yet strange thing about predictions is that they cannot be future-referring in any physical sense since they are only expressed in immediate response to present stimuli.

    Hence predictions could be interpreted as being reports of the immediate present, thus they could be considered to be necessarily true, regardless of whatever happens in the future.
  • TheMadFool
    2.7k
    Leave the future alone if you're looking for certainty because certainty isn't possible for even the present or the past. As Bertrand Russell once said the universe could've sprung into existence 5 minutes ago with false memories of the past. Certainty isn't possible.

    Perhaps as rational animals we're forward thinkers i.e. we like to plan our future states, whether it's about family, food, housing, enjoyment or pain. In a sense we like to control our destinies and the ability to predict the future helps us in this enterprise.

    Perhaps we can dial down our expectations a little bit. Like the courts, when they say "beyond a reasonable doubt" we can aim for a little less than certainty - that probability (70%, 80%, 90% or 99%) that's just adequate to make living possible and planning successful.

    Luck, if it means those things that are beyond our influence, like the pizza delivery guy who'll bump into you or the old man who's cane you'll trip over, plays an important role in our lives too.
  • sime
    229
    Leave the future alone if you're looking for certainty because certainty isn't possible for even the present or the past. As Bertrand Russell once said the universe could've sprung into existence 5 minutes ago with false memories of the past. Certainty isn't possible.TheMadFool

    It is inferences that are uncertain, whereas a report can only be considered to be false in the sense of violating our conventions for communicating reports.

    But is there a clear distinction between inferences and reports? For example, is the sentence "It appears that the dark clouds are about to rain" a necessarily uncertain inference or a necessarily true report?
  • TheMadFool
    2.7k
    It is inferences that are uncertain, whereas a report can only be considered to be false in the sense of violating our conventions for communicating reports.

    But is there a clear distinction between inferences and reports? For example, is the sentence "It appears that the dark clouds are about to rain" a necessarily uncertain inference or a necessarily true report?
    sime

    Indeed, you're right. What was the OP talking about though? Inference or reporting?

    Anyway, radical doubt has a way of thwarting any attempt at certainty even of the reporting kind, right?
  • AngryBear
    13
    If you look at the universe on a molecular level, you can see that one particle interaction will directly influence other interactions. So its possible that the future while not specifically written yet, can be accurately predicted because the trajectory of particles wont change. Much like dominoes, one interaction influences another, then another and so on.

    I used to think that consciousness could interrupt the predictable outcome, by deciding whether or not to intervene with the physical world, but its possible the mind is subject to these rules too.

    Although this is just a super simplification of particle physics.
  • S
    6.9k
    How does any of that answer the question? The question did not ask whether or not we can make accurate predictions.
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