To the Memory of             Luka Randić




Luka's esey "Is anytning Certain?"

Before we can enter into a discussion whether or not anything is certain we have to make a distinction between the physical and the theoretical world. We live in, what we think is, a physical word and live by the rules of theoretical world. This transaction between the two worlds is possible due to science. Science is based on the observation of cause and effect, in the physical world, and the formulation of general principles, for the theoretical world, by which the events may be predicted in the physical world.

We observe “random” actions in the physical world and than from theories and hypothesis about the physical world. With these theories and hypothesis we can create a theoretical world, in which we are certain what has happened in the past. In this theoretical world we are in absolute “control”, because we can say for certain that if we apply our theories and hypothesis from the physical world we can predict everything in the theoretical world.

But since we live in the physical world, we apply the rules of our theoretical world to the physical world. It is than that we run into problems. Although all our observations come from the physical world, when we try to apply them back to the physical world we see that our laws of nature are not always absolutely correct. From all of our experience when dealing with the physical world we can say that we cannot predict anything with absolute certainty.

Immanuel Kant thought insisted that you could know for certain how things would react. Kant used the traditional distinction between Analytic and Synthetic propositions. Analytical propositions only eludicate words – e.g. Billiard balls are spherical. Synthetic propositions go beyond this – e.g. If the white billiard ball hits the black ball straight on the black will move off in the same directions as direction of impact. Kant added two other terms. A Priory knowledge he defined as that coming purely from reasoning, independent from experience, and A Posteriori knowledge as that coming from experience.

At that time there were two movements, Empiricism and Rationalism. Empiricism argued that all the knowledge came from experience, that there are no innate ideas. It based itself on Synthetic propositions and A Posteriori knowledge. But empiricism had problems proving the logical necessity of experimental laws.

In Rationalism the knowledge comes from logical, rational deduction, and innate ideas from the only secure basis for knowledge. It based itself on Analytic propositions and A Priori knowledge.

Kant said we must combine both Empiricism and Rationalism. Kant insisted that Synthetic A Priori statements were possible. You could know, for certain, how the billiard ball would go. For Kant, knowledge came from a synthesis of experience and concepts; without the senses we should not become aware of any object, but without understanding we should form no conception of it. The process of gaining knowledge was a unified one involving perception, imagination and understanding.

My personal opinion on this is that we are able to predict how things are going to react for certain if we have a closed system. By a closed system I mean a system where we are in complete control, where there are no external forces acting. I would agree with Kant that we must combine both Empiricism and Rationalism. Where we combine our conceptual world, we can predict something for certain, but only in a closed system.

We cannot do this in the real world simply because it is not a closed system. We are not in control. The real world is so complex and is such a vastly open system that we cannot claim anything for certain, not even its existence. To claim something for certain we have to be able to prove it, and to prove something’s existence even our own is not easy at all, but that is another story.

In conclusion, when we combine our Knowledge from the physical world, Empiricism, with the knowledge from the theoretical world, Rationalism, than we can predict things for certain but only in a closed system. So to answer the question, in natural world nothing is certain.

  Placed   2008 & 2016 by   Žiža and Mirko