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 travel 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 travel 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 travel are covered in the separate entries on time travel and modern physics1 and time machines2.
  3. We begin with the definitional question: what is time travel? We then turn to the major objection to the possibility of backwards time travel: the Grandfather paradox. Next, issues concerning causation3 are discussed — and then, issues in the metaphysics of time and change. We end with a discussion of the question why, if backwards time travel will ever occur, we have not been visited by time travellers from the future.

  1. What is Time Travel?
    → 1.1 Time Discrepancy
    → 1.2 Changing the Past
  2. The Grandfather Paradox
    → 2.1 Can and Cannot
    → 2.2 Improbable Coincidences
  3. Causation4
    → 3.1 Backwards Causation5
    → 3.2 Causal Loops
  4. Time and Change
    → 4.1 Time Travel and Time
    → 4.2 Time Travel and Change
  5. Where are the Time Travellers?

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: See "Arntzenius (Frank) & Maudlin (Tim) - Time Travel and Modern Physics".

Footnote 2: See "Earman (John) & Wuthrich (Christian) - Time Machines".

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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