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Thursday, January 07, 2010

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Does the past determine the future?

Dear friends,


Hope you have recovered from the Christmas holidays.

This Sunday we are discussing, Does the past determine the future?

Of course, the way we use ordinary language we might feel confident and
justified to think that the past determines the future. For example, all
the cakes, turkeys and Christmas puddings (thank you again Edwin) we ate
these past couple of weeks means that starting Monday we have to start
dieting, take more exercises and generally be concerned about our waist
lines, of the expanded type I mean. In other words, past eaten Christmas
pudding determines waist line of the future.

Basically, we know that the past determines the future because we know
how to use this sort of language. But is this also true of philosophy?
Indeed this is an old issue in philosophy which needs no introduction.
What's more it remain a valid philosophical problem because even other
sciences cannot find a real answer to this question.

However, a curious philosophical issue is how can something determine
the future when the future is an unknown factor by virtue of the fact
that it has not happened yet. In other words, how can we confirm that
the past determines the future when we don't know what the future is like?

Of course, one of the problems with this question is the semantics. The
question itself refers to events that have yet to come. However, our
instinct to confirm that the past determines the future, is precisely
formed by looking at events in the past. Which is basically the same as
asking do past events determine past events?

This means that the way we look at this questions affects us with how we
understand our daily life. For example, we can safely say, on the
balance of probability, that in past Christmases, when we over indulged
on the turkey and Christmas pudding, we discovered that we couldn't
easily fit in some of our favourite clothes. And we knew what to do, and
more or less we saved most of our wardrobe even if we took full
advantage of the seasonal sales.

But how do we know that this is going to happen on Monday?

Take care and see you Sunday


Lawrence

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from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Does the past
determine the future?

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