Saturday, April 3, 2010


A science program about the possiblilty of Time Travel with Dr David Deutsch.

What remains of the killing-your-earlier-self paradox in general relativistic time travel worlds is the fact that in some cases the states on edgeless spacelike surfaces are ‘overconstrained’, so that one has less than the usual freedom in specifying conditions on such a surface, given the time-travel structure, and in some cases such states are ‘underconstrained’, so that states on edgeless space-like surfaces do not determine what happens elsewhere in the way that they usually do, given the time travel structure. There can also be mixtures of those two types of cases. The extent to which states are overconstrained and/or underconstrained in realistic models is as yet unclear, though it would be very surprising if neither obtained. The extant literature has primarily focused on the problem of overconstraint, since that, often, either is regarded as a metaphysical obstacle to the possibility time travel, or as an epistemological obstacle to the plausibility of time travel in our world. While it is true that our world would be quite different from the way we normally think it is if states were overconstrained, underconstraint seems at least as bizarre as overconstraint. Nonetheless, neither directly rules out the possibility of time travel.

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