Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement


Time Travel and Modern Physics

Frank Arntzenius and Tim Maudlin

Time travel has been a staple of science fiction. With the advent of general relativity it has been entertained by serious physicists. But, especially in the philosophy literature, there have been arguments that time travel is inherently paradoxical. The most famous paradox is the grandfather paradox: you travel back in time and kill your grandfather, thereby preventing your own existence. To avoid inconsistency some circumstance will have to occur which makes you fail in this attempt to kill your grandfather. Doesn't this require some implausible constraint on otherwise unrelated circumstances? We examine such worries in the context of modern physics.

Frank Arntzenius is Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University.

Tim Maudlin is Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University.