PhiloMadrid - Pub Philosophy Meetings in Madrid

Friday, May 20, 2016

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Is the Future Predictable? + News

Is the Future Predictable? + News

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: Is the Future Predictable?

I have written a few ideas below, but first news from Elena:

Fundación Ramón Areces
Simposio: La utopía, motor de la historia. Con motivo del V Centenario
de la publicación de "Utopía", de Tomás Moro
Director: Juan José Tamayo-Acosta
Cátedra de Teología y Ciencias de las Religiones. Universidad Carlos III
de Madrid.
Fecha y hora: viernes 27 de mayo de 2016, 9.30 h
Lugar: Salón de Actos de la Fundación Ramón Areces. Calle Vitruvio, 5 -
28006 Madrid.
Le agradeceremos la difusión de esta información entre personas y
entidades interesadas. Asistencia gratuita. Aforo limitado.



Is the Future Predictable?

Expanding the question a bit, we can ask these two questions: can the
future be predicted? And can we predict the future?

The problem with the first question is this: what is the future exactly?
What is the objective here? Are we looking at a set of events, a set of
effects, an outcome, a state of affairs? But is the question "can the
future be predicted?" inevitably linked with our ability to predict the

The ontological problem is probably a question that we cannot really
answer simply because there might be a way of predicting the future but
is a method that we cannot simply know or have access to. On the other
hand, can we predict the future is equally fraught with problems.

If we accept the doctrine of cause and effect, then when ask "Can we
predict the future", and for that matter, "is the future predictable",
do we expect also to know all the minute details of every cause and
effect that will lead us to the thing we wish to predict?

Let us say, for example, we want to predict whether our flight to city X
in two weeks time will leave on time: do we want a "Yes" or "No" answer,
but how we get to "yes" or "no" is just irrelevant, or do we also expect
to know the details all the way to the "yes" or "no" answer?

Of course, there is no such method that will lead us to secure knowledge
about the future simply because we are looking at the future with our
subjective interpretation of the world around. In other words, the
future is something that, if you like, lives in our brain and our
understanding of the world around. The future we have in our head and
the reality of the space-time continuum are two different creatures.

But this does not mean that we are completely blind about the future.
Slowly, but surely, we are becoming more familiar with the way the
universe functions, at least that part of the universe we interact with.
The regularities that we sometimes glimpse at in the universe tell us
what we can expect. Thus knowing how things interact with each other
will give an insight of the causal process and hence any effect.

Furthermore, knowing how a system works and functions can also help us
to know what to expect next. The more we know about a system the more we
can tell what it will do next and what will make it fail.

From an epistemological perspective, we have the scientific method to
guide us into what is probably possible, given our stage of knowledge
now, and what is probably not feasible. Understanding the functions of
probability will give us a type of certainty about the future even if it
is not a populist one.

What we know for sure is that we need to be able to distinguish between
what we wish and what is possible. And then put in the hard work.

Best Lawrence

tel: 606081813 <>
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
Metro: Bilbao
Open Tertulia in English every
Thursdays at Triskel in c/San Vicente Ferrer 3.
Time: from 19:30 to 21h

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Is the Future
Predictable? + News

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