Authors
Nicholas J. J. Smith
University of Sydney
Abstract
This paper argues that the most famous objection to backward time travel can carry no weight. In its classic form, the objection is that backward time travel entails the occurrence of impossible things, such as auto-infanticide—and hence is itself impossible. David Lewis has rebutted the classic version of the objection: auto-infanticide is prevented by coincidences, such as time travellers slipping on banana peels as they attempt to murder their younger selves. I focus on Paul Horwich‘s more recent version of the objection, according to which backward time travel entails not impossible things, but improbable ones—such as the string of slips on banana peels that would be required to stop a determined auto-infanticidal maniac from murdering her younger self—and hence is itself highly improbable. I argue that backward time travel does not entail unusual numbers of coincidences; and that, even if it did, that would not render its occurrence unlikely.
Keywords backward time travel
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/48.3.363
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References found in this work BETA

Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1981 - Philosophy 56 (217):431-433.
The Paradoxes of Time Travel.David K. Lewis - 1976 - American Philosophical Quarterly 13 (2):145-152.
Asymmetries in Time.Paul Horwich - 1990 - Noûs 24 (5):804-806.
Time’s Arrow and Archimedes’ Point.Huw Price - 1996 - Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 59 (4):1093-1096.

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Citations of this work BETA

Time Travel and Time Machines.Chris Smeenk & Christian Wuthrich - 2009 - In Craig Callender (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Time. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 577-630.
Time Enough for Explanation.Sam Baron & Mark Colyvan - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy 113 (2):61-88.
Back to the Unchanging Past.Sam Baron - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (1):129-147.
Time Travel, Coincidences and Counterfactuals.Theodore Sider - 2002 - Philosophical Studies 110 (2):115 - 138.

View all 35 citations / Add more citations

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