Context, Conditionals, Fatalism, Time Travel, and Freedom
Carroll (John W.)
Source: Campbell, O'Rourke & Silverstein - Time and Identity, I - Time, Chapter 3
Paper - Abstract

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  1. John W. Carroll offers a contextualist account of counterfactual conditionals designed to sort out the dispute between Lewis-Sider and Vihvelin on the abilities of time travellers2 and reveal the problems with the fatalist's argument.
  2. On this account, sentences like 'Tim the time traveller3 cannot kill his Grandfather' are true in some conversational contexts and false in others.
  3. Including certain historical facts into the "common ground" of our conversational context (for example, the precise date of Grandfather's actual death) does imply that Tim cannot kill Grandfather.
  4. But this, argues Carroll, doesn't suggest any "logical shackles" for the time traveller4: it simply amounts to the proposition that Tim did not kill Grandfather.

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: Taken from p. 12 of "Slater (Matthew H.) - Framing the Problems of Time and Identity", footnotes removed (for now).

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