Phenomenal future

In the context of the future, what does "data" mean? Blogging briefly about a 2003 book on foresight research, Foundations for Futures Studies, Nicolas Nova makes a simple point that I really hadn't considered before.

The book attempts to lay groundwork for "future research epistemology," describe methodology and give an account of solid work in the field. If I understand the post, it's essentially an attempt to add rigor to foresight research. Nova wonders what "data" means since, obviously, the future is in important ways about what people think might happen.

The suggestion reminded me of work in phenomenology, which is a branch of philosophy dealing with human experience - of how things appear to us - and of those mysterious forces called the mind and will, which may or may not be mapped, and with which we summon what's yet to come. Phenomenology is cartography.