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Forward To The Past

Philosophy : Thought Experiments

Time travel is one of the most puzzled over philosophical questions, and it's fair to say it has fascinated since time began.

Is travel to the past possible? Well, imagine the thought experiment in which you come home from work, terrible day at the office, only to be greeted by yourself, grinning.

After pinching yourself, it turns out your future self has come back from the future to tell you about something that has just been invented in 2047 that is so ingenious if you invent it now, you will become rich and famous - everything your future self wants to be.

Is this story possible, or does it imply contradictions? Certainly it would seem to if you then go on to invent the new technology and seemingly 're-write history'. For the story to be consistent, and therefore less obviously not possible, the future knowledge must somehow limit your current freedom - for instance you will somehow be unable to act on the knowledge if you did not invent the new technology.

Even if you did invent the technology, but it was dependent on your future self coming back and telling you something that enabled you to invent, we seem to have another puzzle around the exchange of information and knowledge; the past being dependent on the future which would re-write our concepts.

By: Dan

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