Do the Laws of Physics Forbid the Operation of Time Machines?

Synthese 169 (1):91 - 124 (2009)
Abstract
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)
DOI 10.2307/40271293
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Presentism and Black Holes.Geurt Sengers - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (1):1-15.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Time Travel and Time Machines.Chris Smeenk & Christian Wuthrich - 2011 - In Craig Callender (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Time. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 577-630.
The Arguments of Time.Jeremy Butterfield (ed.) - 1999 - Published for the British Academy by Oxford University Press.
Quantum Concepts in Space and Time.Roger Penrose & C. J. Isham (eds.) - 1986 - New York ;Oxford University Press.
Twins' Paradox and Closed Timelike Curves: The Role of Proper Time and the Presentist View on Spacetime. [REVIEW]Cord Friebe - 2012 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 43 (2):313-326.
Pre-Socratic Quantum Gravity.Belot Gordon & Earman John - 2001 - In Craig Callender & Nick Huggett (eds.), Physics Meets Philosophy at the Planck Scale. Cambridge University Press. pp. 213--55.
On the Emergence of Time in Quantum Gravity.Jeremy Butterfield & Chris Isham - 1999 - In The Arguments of Time. Published for the British Academy by Oxford University Press. pp. 111--168.
What Makes Time Special?Craig Callender - 2017 - Oxford University Press.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

407 ( #6,082 of 2,177,988 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

10 ( #30,357 of 2,177,988 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums