How to agree?

The integration and classification of diverse qualities and styles of information is part of a unique research program by WikiDaemon. In response to contributions ranging from scientific expert knowledge and peer reviewed research up to speculations by lay people from distinct knowledge backgrounds and cultures, a multidimensional, transparent and interactive structure will assist in the identification and characterization of information.

When prospecting the future, all contributions have a common drawback. The equal footing that all knowledge on the future is uncertain knowledge and contains distinct levels of uncertainty. So how do we lable this kind of knowledge?

When can we talk in the name of facts ?

Prospecting the future with information on the past, demands a characterization and standardization on how to agree on what is a fact and what is not? How to identify and distinguish between certain and uncertain knowledge, between truth, theory, experiment, simulation and speculation? How do people acknowledge and value the uncertainties involved in the knowledge when prospecting the future? An extrapolation that often feeds back on the basis of an obscure and uncertain past.

In the philosophy of statistics for example, probability can be decribed as either an objective physical property like mass or distance or just as a subjective degree of belief. The subjective experience of matters of fact ascertained by the occurance of an event or a disaster taking place, differ from matters of facts drawn by the experimental way of producing intersubjective knowledge in a laboratory. And it might differ from the knowledge expressed as probabilities and distributions of probabilities drawn from model calculation, simulation and statistics. And how to acknowledge the drawbacks and prospects of each approach?

Analysing risks and future adverse consequences means dealing with a virtuality and an imagination. Risk is not the real disaster, that can be testified as an event. It is not a matter of fact that has occured yet.

The figuration and imagination of future events is an extension into the future which creates something like a space of possibilities. This space of possibilities can be prefigured by creative imagination. An it can be measured and narrowed by probabilities as result of scientific modelling and simulation, a special form of scientific experiments. The pretending exactness of this probabilistic numeric contains in its core a complex notion of uncertainty. Uncertainty and speculation is always on the other side of every scientific knowledge about the future.

The forecast of the future demands a characterization and representation of the knowledge and the uncertainties involved.

This means, the uncertainties and omissions in knowledge involved in the formalization of calculation, in the vagueness of using language, and in the affirmative character of imaging.

It is convenient to distinguish between “aleatory” and “epistemic” uncertainty. The former refers to phenomena occurring in a random way. The latter captures the scientists confidence in e.g. a model by quantifying the degree of belief. Scientists believe that the epistemic uncertainty can be reduced by acquiring more knowledge and information. Whereas the aleatory uncertainty, the kind of uncertainty produced when throwing a dice (alea), or even more the ontological uncertainty when facing a Fukushima or an Alien, cannot. For this reason it is sometimes called irreducible uncertainty.

Whereas Ulrich Beck says that science itself has become so powerful that it can neither predict nor control its effects. It generates risks too vast to calculate. In the era of nuclear fission, genetic engineering and a changing climate, society itself has become a scientific laboratory.

There is an uncertainty stemming from fuzzy or imprecise information. It seems to arise out of vagueness in the language, in particular, from vague predicates that gather linguistic inexactitude used for approximate reasoning in human decision making. Naturally decisions have to be made in uncertain environments in the real world. Like everyone else, decisions must be taken under uncertainty. We make decisions even though there may not be an optimal action that can be found with an application of scientific methodologies or there may not be any action that satisfies our needs.

Why vagueness does exist? Some people support that it is completely linguistic, and it is an inaccuracy related to the language. Others affirm that the human capability to express himself vague, enables him to better define the objects of the external world. Or claim that the external world is a continuum while the linguistic concepts are discrete. The vague assists to better expression because of the existence of a universal paradox between the external reality and its mental projection at human’s cognitive structure. So vagueness could be a state of the mental system according to the information available.


cf. Ibrahim Özkan and I. Burhan Türk, Uncertainty and Fuzzy Decisions

cf. Enrico Zio and Nicola Pedroni. Methods for representing uncertainty

cf. A literature review’Imprecision,Uncertainty & Vagueness: a reply: Kamil Murat EKSIOGLU (