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The Future
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In a linear conception of time, the future is the portion of the timeline that has yet to occur, i.e. the place in space-time where lie all events that still have not occurred. In this sense the future is opposed to the past (the set of moments and events that have already occurred) and the present (the set of events that are occurring now).

The future has always had a very special place in philosophy and, in general, in the human mind. This is true largely because human beings often want a forecast of events that will occur. It is perhaps possible to argue that the evolution of the human brain is in great part an evolution in cognitive abilities necessary to forecast the future, i.e. abstract imagination, logic and induction. Imagination permits us to “see” (i.e. predict) a plausible model of a given situation without observing it, therefore mitigating risks. Logical reasoning allows one to predict inevitable consequences of actions and situations and therefore gives useful information about future events. Induction permits the association of a cause with consequences, a fundamental notion for every forecast of future time.

Despite these cognitive instruments for the comprehension of future, the stochastic nature of many natural and social processes has made forecasting the future a long-sought aim of many people and cultures throughout the ages. Figures claiming to see into the future, such as prophets and diviners, have enjoyed great consideration and even social importance in many past and present communities. Whole pseudo-sciences, such as astrology and cheiromancy, were constructed with the aim of forecasting the future. Much of physical science too can be read as an attempt to make quantitative and objective predictions about events.

The Future also forms a prominent subject for religion. Religions often offer prophecies about life after death and also about the end of the world. The conflict in the Christian religion between the knowledge of the future by God and the freedom of humanity leads, for example, to the doctrine of predestination.


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