David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Synthese 169 (1):91 - 124 (2009)
We address the question of whether it is possible to operate a time machine by manipulating matter and energy so as to manufacture closed timelike curves. This question has received a great deal of attention in the physics literature, with attempts to prove no- go theorems based on classical general relativity and various hybrid theories serving as steps along the way towards quantum gravity. Despite the effort put into these no-go theorems, there is no widely accepted definition of a time machine. We explain the conundrum that must be faced in providing a satisfactory definition and propose a resolution. Roughly, we require that all extensions of the time machine region contain closed timelike curves; the actions of the time machine operator are then sufficiently "potent" to guarantee that closed timelike curves appear. We then review no-go theorems based on classical general relativity, semi-classical quantum gravity, quantum field theory on curved spacetime, and Euclidean quantum gravity. Our verdict on the question of our title is that no result of sufficient generality to underwrite a confident "yes" has been proven. Our review of the no-go results does, however, highlight several foundational problems at the intersection of general relativity and quantum physics that lend substance to the search for an answer
|Keywords||General relativity Time travel Time machines QFT on curved spacetime Causality Closed timelike curves|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
John Earman, Christopher Smeenk & Christian Wüthrich (2009). Do the Laws of Physics Forbid the Operation of Time Machines? Synthese 169 (1):91 - 124.
Chris Smeenk & Christian Wuthrich (2011). Time Travel and Time Machines. In Craig Callender (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Time. Oxford University Press.
Jeremy Butterfield (ed.) (1999). The Arguments of Time. Published for the British Academy by Oxford University Press.
Roger Penrose & C. J. Isham (eds.) (1986). Quantum Concepts in Space and Time. New York ;Oxford University Press.
Cord Friebe (2012). Twins' Paradox and Closed Timelike Curves: The Role of Proper Time and the Presentist View on Spacetime. [REVIEW] Journal for General Philosophy of Science 43 (2):313-326.
Gordon Belot & John Earman (2001). Pre-Socratic Quantum Gravity. In Craig Callender & Nick Huggett (eds.), Physics Meets Philosophy at the Planck Scale. Cambridge University Press. 213--55.
Gordon Belot, Whatever is Never and Nowhere is Not: Space, Time, and Ontology in Classical and Quantum Gravity.
Jeremy Butterfield & Chris Isham (2001). Spacetime and the Philosophical Challenge of Quantum Gravity. In Physics Meets Philosophy at the Panck Scale. Cambridge University Press.
James Mattingly (2009). Mongrel Gravity. Erkenntnis 70 (3):379 - 395.
Bradley Monton (2006). Presentism and Quantum Gravity. In Dennis Dieks (ed.), The Ontology of Spacetime.
Jeremy Butterfield & Chris Isham (1999). On the Emergence of Time in Quantum Gravity. In , The Arguments of Time. Published for the British Academy by Oxford University Press. 111--168.
Added to index2010-12-22
Total downloads52 ( #30,667 of 1,101,105 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #81,124 of 1,101,105 )
How can I increase my downloads?