paper2 - 1 Donnie Darko and Time Travel Time travel has...

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Donnie Darko and Time Travel Time travel has been a popular subject in entertainment and has shown up in countless books, movies and television shows; but are the ways in which it has been depicted consistent with its philosophical understanding? The static view of time, also called eternalism or the Block Universe theory, can be considered the theory on which time travel is most possible. In this paper I will discuss how and why time travel works on the Block Universe theory and whether or not the time travel used in the movie Donnie Darko can fit into this mold. The Block Universe theory is that of tenseless time, meaning that time does not “become” or “flow.” According to proponents of this theory, time can be somewhat equated space; just as various places exist but at different places, the past, present and future all exist as well, just at different times. This means that a presently extinct object is as equally existent as a presently existing object; they are just on different spacetime regions, which is why we cannot experience the presently extinct object. This is unlike the more intuitive tensed theories of time which state that the future and past, or just the future, do not exist anymore or are yet to exist. According to this theory, as time moves the world chooses between the many possible paths that it could take; the past has already been set and the present is the instant at which the past and the future meet. However, on the tenseless theory each event, past present or future, is equally real which is made possible by time being a “fourth dimension” (Callender and Edney 34-39). This fourth dimension can be described as “a bunch of spatial entities located at spatial points at different times” (39). The fourth dimension is a hard concept for one to understand and even harder to visualize, but it relies on the theory that time is like space, it is static and all events in the past 1
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present and future have equivalent ontological standing. Just as an object has three dimensions in space, width, length and height, a fourth dimension also exists which is considered to be time. Since time is defined in a way that can be equated to space, the metaphysics of time travel fit best into the Block Universe theory. Just as we can traverse across the three dimensions of space, we can also traverse across the fourth dimension. The main difference between our travels on the fourth dimension and those on the three dimensions is that we cannot change the pace at which we move on it and we can only go forward. However, if time travel were possible then backwards or faster movement along the fourth dimension of time would be possible (Hunter). While time travel seems at least logically possible on the view of the Block Universe,
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This note was uploaded on 04/16/2008 for the course PHIL 14 taught by Professor Callender during the Winter '08 term at UCSD.

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paper2 - 1 Donnie Darko and Time Travel Time travel has...

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