Time Travel
Smith (Nicholas J.J.)
Source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, First published Thu Nov 14, 2013
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. There is an extensive literature on time travel1 in both philosophy and physics. Part of the great interest of the topic stems from the fact that reasons have been given both for thinking that time travel2 is physically possible—and for thinking that it is logically impossible!
  2. This entry deals primarily with philosophical issues; issues related to the physics of time travel3 are covered in the separate entries on time travel and modern physics4 and time machines5.
  3. We begin with the definitional question: what is time travel6? We then turn to the major objection to the possibility of backwards time travel7: the Grandfather paradox. Next, issues concerning causation8 are discussed — and then, issues in the metaphysics of time and change. We end with a discussion of the question why, if backwards time travel9 will ever occur, we have not been visited by time travellers10 from the future.

  1. What is Time Travel11?
    → 1.1 Time Discrepancy
    → 1.2 Changing the Past
  2. The Grandfather Paradox
    → 2.1 Can and Cannot
    → 2.2 Improbable Coincidences
  3. Causation12
    → 3.1 Backwards Causation13
    → 3.2 Causal Loops
  4. Time and Change
    → 4.1 Time Travel14 and Time
    → 4.2 Time Travel15 and Change
  5. Where are the Time Travellers16?

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 4: See "Arntzenius (Frank) & Maudlin (Tim) - Time Travel and Modern Physics".

Footnote 5: See "Earman (John) & Wuthrich (Christian) - Time Machines".

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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