Is the future predictable?

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Reply Sun 2 Nov, 2008 03:32 pm
I have reason to believe that NOTHING is random. I think that every choice we make is determined by chemical reactions.


Then I don't have to be wise afterwards when i've done something stupid! :bigsmile: It would have happened anyway!

I think that if we could totally analyze everything, we could actually predict the future! Oops! there we have a problem. If i could analyze the entire cosmos, and find out what I was going to eat for dinner, I could just skip it! then the prediction would be wrong. But it still seems logical to me that nothing is random.
 
Rose phil
 
Reply Sun 2 Nov, 2008 04:57 pm
@Henrik phil,
So you want to know if it is possible to predict your future?

Try this experiment. Simply think about something you want, make it something small to begin with. Think about it when you get up in the morning and think about it when you go to bed at night. Make sure it is something you want. You know what they say, "Be careful what you wish for because you might just get it."
 
jgweed
 
Reply Sun 2 Nov, 2008 05:04 pm
@Henrik phil,
"I have reason to believe that NOTHING is random."

Hopefully you will provide reasons and evidence to support this assertion.
 
Zacrates
 
Reply Sun 2 Nov, 2008 06:05 pm
@jgweed,
Scientists have proved that our brain knows (subconsciously) what we are going to do in the lets say next three seconds before we do it, so you can not really be completely random.
 
franc
 
Reply Sun 2 Nov, 2008 06:52 pm
@Henrik phil,
Determinism. Find the determining factors, and you will have determined how your life will be determined. Personally, I don't think foreknowledge of a postulated event will change the outcome of the event, unless one directs their actions toward altering the determining factors. The only problem with this is that there are an infinite amount of determining factors influencing one another, so that to truly, clearly see what will happen in the future, one must be omniscient; "God only is wise." Socrates
 
Henrik phil
 
Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2008 04:38 am
@jgweed,
jgweed wrote:
"I have reason to believe that NOTHING is random."

Hopefully you will provide reasons and evidence to support this assertion.


I meant that it it seems logical to me, maybe I used a bad expression, English isn't my mother tongue you know!
 
xris
 
Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2008 02:16 pm
@Henrik phil,
IS or should circumstantial evidence be given credence in any circumstance???
 
validity
 
Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2008 03:21 am
@Henrik phil,
When do we ever reach the future to determine if it is (or is it was) random? I have often wondered "When does now, become not now?"

I have never really thought about it much so this may seem a weak comment... Could it be that the future (whatever or whenever that is) is emergent? For the same reason we can not see the property of wetness or that of being a fluid in a single water molecule, we are not able to predict the future, because its (the future) quality is not found in its parts ie the past and present. I need a serious coffee to nut this one out...
 
jgweed
 
Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2008 08:07 am
@Henrik phil,
We want to think of the future as a universal, abstract concept, and then make general conclusions about it. Often these conclusions of something unknown are made by looking at something known (the past). We may, sometimes with a great deal of casuistry, trace a causal relationship between prior and subsequent events, but this interpretation is an interpretation of actual events.
When we apply our position about the predictability of the future in general to smaller parts, don't we find some events are predictable and others far less so?

The future is always "owned." It is MY future, or the future (of) computing, or the future (of) philosophy, or the future (of) France, and so forth. We normally say, moreover, that events closer to our now are more predictable than events further off---"the foreseeable future," which varies from one horizon to another and even within one will vary from time to time.

Economics looks at a large aggregate of individual actions and makes predictions based on mathematical models and statistical projections. Think of Adam Smith's "invisible hand." How certain in their predictions are models and statistics, and if they can predict general outcomes, can they predict individual ones?

Marx made predictions based on classes acting in a particular manner. Why was he wrong? Well, he assumed members of the class always acted from certain motives and ignored that actions could be caused by a whole range of motives in combination. We continue to think along some such lines today: Republicans, Blacks, Goths and assume without actually saying the word "all" (each and every), a uniformity that only exists as a "family resemblance."

Let us consider an example of something that each of us would know and know expertly---(My) future. Does our special and unique knowledge of ourselves make our own predictions about our own future more or less valid than an observer's, and if so, does this apply to all circumstances?

Now imagine a case in which something is predicted with some amount of authority, and this prediction is known beforehand. Does this influence the outcome of events? We everywhere hear and read, for example, that Obama's election is almost a certainty; how does this prediction influence the individual voter, and does it influence each voter in precisely the same way?

But then someone says, we can at least predict future physical events because nature operates in a regular fashion and we understand the laws by which it does what it does. This might be the case when we are talking about dropping a book ten years from now and predicting it will fall to the ground. But take a counter-example currently in everyone's mind: global warming. This should be completely predictable in its effects and in its time-scale, but predictions even from scientific specialists will vary. Part of this problem is incomplete data, part is an incomplete understanding of what data are pertinent, part is a lack of certainly about which "laws" apply to which area of a very complex "equation."

Suppose we could journey back and talk to Dr. Livingston and one of his natives. We ask each of them to predict his own personal future, and then we ask each of them to predict the future of the Congo. Are there differences in reliability in either case?

To ask the question about the predictability of the future is to ask, at least in part, about the many kinds of predictions and the many kinds of futures.

TO WIT:

http://www.philosophyforum.com/forum/lounge/general-discussion/2613-obama-mccain.html
 
sarek
 
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 02:07 am
@Henrik phil,
I see two, perhaps interrelated problems interfering with absolute predictability.

The first is off course quantummechanics. You cannot tell what has happened to Schrodinger's cat until you open the box.

The second is chaos theory. Large changes can occur because of minor(essentially unmeasurable) differences in initial conditions. You can approach perfection in your predictive capabilities but never fully reach it.

And what would happen if the butterfly of chaos theory happens to be a single electron in the brain?
 
Khethil
 
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 06:28 am
@sarek,
I'd still maintain that if it were possible to know enough variables, that one could predict future events. That being said, I also think that the complexity and vastness of such information prohibits us from doing so.[INDENT]1. All events we perceive have some cause; known to us or not.

2. Most events have more than one, single cause (very little, if anything, happens from one cause alone).

3. If I were somehow to know, and be able to accurately calculate all past and present variables having a bearing on event X, I could therefore predict the next event (or set thereof)
[/INDENT]I am, admittedly, no expert on causality. But this seems perfectly rational. No, I dont' think any future events could be predicted; but only because the (1) amount of knowledge, (2) proportional weighing of each cause's impact, and (3) the vast amount of rippling sub-effects is beyond our ability to do so. To say something is possible, yet beyond our ability, may sound like a contradiction but I believe this to be so.

Clarification: For nearly-everything throughout human's history that was considered to be random, over time (as knowledge has been gained) as we've come to realize the causes that item has been "struck from the list". Further, I don't see any reason to subscribe to the notion that this trend won't continue.

Thanks
 
xris
 
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 06:42 am
@Khethil,
Predict or clever guess...what about actual predicting without knowledge...I ask again can we accept circumstantial evidence ever...the man who dreams a winner of a horse race...me dreaming of the lottery numbers and not taking it seriously, to my ever lasting damnation...when you have personel experience it makes you think, should i listen to others claims?...I dont want the future to be written but is it possible no matter what i desire?
 
Rose phil
 
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 07:10 am
@Henrik phil,
I believe it is. But I think it depends on your beliefs.
 
sarek
 
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 07:33 am
@Rose phil,
Rose wrote:
I believe it is. But I think it depends on your beliefs.



Answering both you and xris: I think it depends not on belief but on perspective.

If you look at things the way scientists do there simply is no way you can predict everything. You can often calculate some outcomes with an overwhelmingly high probability but absolute certainty is impossible.

But if you were a photon(which moves at lightspeed) interacting with the universe there would be no difference between cause and consequence.

The future would be now and it would be completely predictable.

It's just that science has no known mechanism to put that 'advance knowledge' into your brain.

But that does not mean it can't be happening.
 
xris
 
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 07:38 am
@Rose phil,
For me my expeiences go against my beliefs and because i have had certain experiences i notice others who have had them and we share the same problems of sceptic listeners..if they had collaborated my beliefs it would be so much easier...
 
xris
 
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 07:41 am
@sarek,
sarek wrote:
Answering both you and xris: I think it depends not on belief but on perspective.

If you look at things the way scientists do there simply is no way you can predict everything. You can often calculate some outcomes with an overwhelmingly high probability but absolute certainty is impossible.

But if you were a photon(which moves at lightspeed) interacting with the universe there would be no difference between cause and consequence.

The future would be now and it would be completely predictable.

It's just that science has no known mechanism to put that 'advance knowledge' into your brain.

But that does not mean it can't be happening.
no science at this moment can not accept my witness but i think it should enquire more than it does....
 
Rose phil
 
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 12:18 pm
@sarek,
sarek;31559 wrote:
Answering both you and xris: I think it depends not on belief but on perspective.

If you look at things the way scientists do there simply is no way you can predict everything. You can often calculate some outcomes with an overwhelmingly high probability but absolute certainty is impossible.

But if you were a photon(which moves at lightspeed) interacting with the universe there would be no difference between cause and consequence.

The future would be now and it would be completely predictable.

It's just that science has no known mechanism to put that 'advance knowledge' into your brain.

But that does not mean it can't be happening.



serek,

I understand your thoughts on this but I have experienced dreams that have come true and other events in my life, some very sad. I can't prove these things but I can never say they didn't happen. Perhaps this is where metaphysics comes in. There is so much more going on here than we realise. I don't know if we will ever understand it but I hope one day someone will be able to show that these things are a fact of life.
 
xris
 
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 02:12 pm
@Rose phil,
Rose wrote:
serek,

I understand your thoughts on this but I have experienced dreams that have come true and other events in my life, some very sad. I can't prove these things but I can never say they didn't happen. Perhaps this is where metaphysics comes in. There is so much more going on here than we realise. I don't know if we will ever understand it but I hope one day someone will be able to show that these things are a fact of life.
I dont think we are alone Rose but we are in the minority that have the courage to place ourselves on the rack.
 
sarek
 
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 02:45 pm
@Rose phil,
Rose wrote:
serek,

I understand your thoughts on this but I have experienced dreams that have come true and other events in my life, some very sad. I can't prove these things but I can never say they didn't happen. Perhaps this is where metaphysics comes in. There is so much more going on here than we realise. I don't know if we will ever understand it but I hope one day someone will be able to show that these things are a fact of life.


I hope and even pray that you are right. You are certainly not the only one and I have met other people with the same stories.
And while my mind is one of logic, my intuition tells me quite another story even if I have not personally had your kind of experiences. I have, though, sometimes experienced feelings that may be interpreted as foreshadowing events to come.
That is my own personal version of Bendii syndrome I am sure.
In the worlds of one other famous fictitious character I could say that "I want to believe"
 
franc
 
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 06:55 pm
@sarek,
sarek wrote:
I see two, perhaps interrelated problems interfering with absolute predictability.

The first is off course quantummechanics. You cannot tell what has happened to Schrodinger's cat until you open the box.

The second is chaos theory. Large changes can occur because of minor(essentially unmeasurable) differences in initial conditions. You can approach perfection in your predictive capabilities but never fully reach it.

And what would happen if the butterfly of chaos theory happens to be a single electron in the brain?


Schrodinger's cat doesn't eliminate determinism. If one's thoughts can be said to be determined, couldn't the same be said of one's thoughts on the fate of the cat?
 
 

 
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