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Everywhere and EverywhenAdventures in Physics and Philosophy$
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Nick Huggett

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195379518

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195379518.001.0001

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Why Can't I Stop My Younger Self from Time Traveling?

Why Can't I Stop My Younger Self from Time Traveling?

Chapter:
(p.138) 13 Why Can't I Stop My Younger Self from Time Traveling?
Source:
Everywhere and Everywhen
Author(s):

Nick Huggett (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195379518.003.0013

Suppose you were to walk through a door and come out on the other side the day before; that would be travel backwards in time, as these chapters explain. However, is it at all possible? Chapter 12 addresses the question within the laws of physics, explaining that some laws prohibit it, some allow it in special circumstances, and others quite generally. Simple examples are considered, including a world of ‘cellular automata’, to explain what our best theory of space and time, general relativity says. Chapter 13 addresses the paradoxical nature of time travel: if you travelled back a day when you stepped through the door you cannot then stop yourself from doing so, whatever you try! By considering what we mean by saying something can or cannot be done, and what it means to have free will, the chapter explains why there is no real paradox.

Keywords:   time travel, laws, cellular automata, general relativity, paradox, free will

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