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Grouped Events

In philosophy, a grouped event is the experience of two or more events that occur in sequence or concurrently that can be subsequently categorized.

Grouped events can fall into categories depending upon whether the events are causal or acausal (noncausal), and are with or without meaning (significance). Causal events are related as the subsequent event(s) are understood to be a consequence of the prior event(s). Meaning represents the purpose or significance of something.

Four categories are causality, coincidence, serendipity, and synchronicity.

Causality represents causal events grouped without meaning. These are common events.

Coincidence represents acausal events grouped without meaning. These are less common events.

Serendipity represents causal events grouped by meaning. These are rare events.

Synchronicity represents acausal events grouped by meaning. These events are unlikely to occur by chance and may represent an outlier effect.

A causality example is to strike a cue ball with a pool stick to make it move. The result is expected and has no meaning.

A coincidence example is two friends from the same town finding each other at the same time in the town's library without any planning. The result is unexpected, yet has no meaning (significance).

A serendipity example is finding something useful while looking for something else, such as finding the cue ball while looking for the pool stick. The find was caused by the search, and because the find was useful, the event has meaning.

A sychronicity example is two friends who rarely visit libraries, without any planning, finding each other in a library on one day; and again without any planning, finding each other in a distant library on a later date. Not only is the result unexpected, the friends find the event to have meaning (significance), because of the remote chance of the event.

Determinism theory argues against acausal events. However, all theories of physical determinism have been proven demonstrably false by modern physics. Quantum theory, which has been confirmed by experiments for over a century, is based upon the empirical evidence that many subatomic events, while they may have a mathematical probability of occurring at any given time, do occur spontaneously and randomly, without any physical cause which we, given the current state of our knowledge of quantum behavior, are able to determine. In other words, the idea of causality can neither be argued for, nor against at this point in time.

  • Jung, Carl (1972). Synchronicity, An Acausal Connecting Principle. Routledge and Kegan Paul. .
  • Cederquist, Jan (2010). Meaningful Coincidence. Times Publishing Limited. .
  • Faust, David (1984). The Limits of Scientific Reasoning. University of Minnesota Press. .


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