wirius wrote:I would take two ways of defining uncertainty. Logical and "emotional" uncertainty. To define, a logical analysis is a breaking down of an observation or conclusion into steps. Logical certainty would be a logical conclusion that one has not missed any logical steps in their analysis. Logical uncertainty would be admitting there are logical assumptions or gaps in that thinking.
Emotional certainty is a digest of the big picture. For example, one may come to a conclusion, but have a nagging feeling that conclusion is lacking somewhere. Emotional certainty means you are not likely to analyze something logically, as that takes a lot of thinking and effort. A lack of emotional certainty may cause you to examine something logically to see if you can find logical certainty, and restore emotional certainty.
I don't think the O/P ever got any kind of straight answer so this is a good thread to resurrect.
The O/P is still around so I am surprised he/she did not bump his own thread.
Anyway, uncertainty to me is any situation or circumstance in the Universe or on the Earth where the cause or outcome is unknown.
The clearest case is any contest between two or more opposing forces.
The Universe itself appears to be dynamic but stable, at least from the perspective of human history.
The Earth itself also appears to be dynamic but stable as well.
Humankind with its bombs and poisons seems to have the ability like no other species to alter the course of the Earth, but probably not to a major degree. The Southern Hemisphere seems to be fairly pristine still, being largely composed of sea water with 3 continents dipping down into it -- the tip of Africa, the tip of Latin America, and Australia. Thus a major conflagration in the Northern Hemisphere would be survived by those living in the Southern. In that sense the Earth is still immune from total destruction.
So with that as a concept of uncertainty on a macro scale -- of the Universe and of the Earth -- uncertainty on a micro scale is simply the ability of all living things to survive their own circumstances.
There are also intellectual aspects of uncertainty. These involve being able to affix a cause and effect relationship to all observed phenomena.
Our science has helped us hypothesize about those physical circumstances.
And Philosophy helps us do so for the intangible as well.
Uncertainty is therefore anything that Philosophy cannot resolve.
We know we each exist but we don't know why.
We know we are each mortal but we don't know what was happening with us before or births nor do we yet know what happens after our deaths.
We know we are here but we do not know how we got here.
Those are the major issues of the intellectual aspects of uncertainty with Philosophy.
Religion is popular of course because it gives answers to these questions, and as long as Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and the others were not liars there is some hope of reconciliation of this uncertainty within the folds of religion.
The atheist and agnostic live with no such comfort. They must face oblivion alone.