Time and causation in gödel's universe

In 1949 the great logician Kurt Gödel constructed the first mathematical models of the universe in which travel into the past is, in theory at least, possible. Within the framework of Einstein’s general theory of relativity Gödel produced cosmological solutions to Einstein’s field equations which contain closed time-like curves, that is, curves in spacetime which, despite being closed, still represent possible paths of bodies. An object moving along such a path would travel back into its own past, to the very moment at which it “began” the journey. More generally, Gödel showed that, in his “universe”, for any two points P and Q on a body’s track through spacetime, such that P temporally precedes Q, there is a timelike curve linking P and Q on which Q temporally precedes P. This means that, in principle at least, one could board a “time machine” and travel to any point of the past. Gödel inferred, in consonance with the views of Parmenides, Kant and the modern idealists, that under these circumstances there could be no such thing as an objective lapse of time, that time or, more generally, change, is an illusion arising from our special mode of perception. For consider an observer initially at point P. At point Q he boards a time machine and travels back to point P, taking time t′′ to do so. In that case, according to his own clock, t′ – t + t′′ > 0 seconds have elapsed, and yet an identical clock left at P would show that 0 seconds have elapsed. In short, there has been no “objective” lapse of time at all. Gödel remarks that in his universe this situation is typical: for every possible definition of an “objective” time one could travel into regions which are past according to that definition. He continues
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 31,334
External links

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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Added to PP index

Total downloads
149 ( #35,865 of 2,225,308 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #423,227 of 2,225,308 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature