TIME_TRAVEL_2 - TIME TRAVEL Time travel is well known to...

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TIME TRAVEL Time travel is well known to fans of science fiction, and is appealing to most people. There have been two basic kinds of time travel described in the literature (both philosophical and popular): Wellsian and Gödelian. Wellsian (named after H. G. Wells and inspired by his novel The Time Machine ) usually involves a time traveler climbing into some machine or contraption which takes her into the past or future (e.g., Back to the Future , where the contraption was a DeLorean, or the old tv show The Time Tunnel , or the cartoon show that appeared on Rocky and Bullwinkle, Peabody’s Improbable History , featuring Mr. Peabody and his boy, Sherman, and the WABAK [pronounced “wayback”] Machine, or the movie 12 Monkeys , in which Bruce Willis’ character is sent back in time, often to unintended eras, or the Terminator movies.) Sometimes, as in The Time Traveler’s Wife , no machine is involved. Gödelian time travel, on the other hand, arises from extreme space-time geometry and the General Theory of Relativity. It is named after Kurt Gödel, mathematician and friend of Einstein’s, who found a solution to the Einstein Field Equations which exhibited the peculiarity of closed time-like curves, or CTCs. The Time Travel Consortium, a group of theoretical physicists led by Kip Thorne, have been looking into the physical possibility of time travel by examining various such relativistic space-times, especially those surrounding black holes or worm holes. In either case, some one, or some thing, “travels” from one space-time point to another in some non-standard way, so that either the second occurs “before” the first, or significantly “later” than the first. There are some standard puzzles and paradoxes associated with time travel, most famously the “Grandfather Paradox”, in its many forms. Basically, we are asked to consider what would happen if someone traveled back in time, to before he was born, and killed his grandfather before his grandfather had any children. If Granddad had no offspring, then the murdering time traveler would not have been born, so would not have been able to build a time machine to go back in time to kill the old man. So who killed Grandpa? There is a wonderful short story called “All You Zombies”,
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This note was uploaded on 02/14/2011 for the course PHIL 124c taught by Professor Humphrey during the Spring '11 term at UCSB.

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TIME_TRAVEL_2 - TIME TRAVEL Time travel is well known to...

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