Time travel: probability and impossibility

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

There are various arguments for the metaphysical impossibility of time travel. Is it impossible because objects could then be in two places at once? Or is it impossible because some objects could bring about their own existence? In this book, Nikk Effingham contends that no such argument is sound and that time travel is metaphysically possible. His main focus is on the Grandfather Paradox: the position that time travel is impossible because someone could not go back in time and kill their own grandfather before he met their grandmother. In such a case, Effingham argues that the time traveller would have the ability to do the impossible (so they could kill their grandfather) even though those impossibilities will never come about (so they won't kill their grandfather). He then explores the ramifications of this view, discussing issues in probability and decision theory. The book ends by laying out the dangers of time travel and why, even though no time machines currently exist, we should pay extra special care ensuring that nothing, no matter how small or microscopic, ever travels in time.

Details

Original languageEnglish
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages272
ISBN (Print)9780198842507
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2020