Article: The apparent reality of time travel

Hey guys,

This is definitely something a bit different from what I usually post, but I hope you enjoy it!
I had to write a couple of articles for my philosophy class so after I let a friend of mine read the translated version (I wrote it in dutch first) she encouraged me to share it on this blog. This might be just a one-time thing but maybe I’ll also post the other articles I’ll have to write too. So don’t forget what to tell me what you think!

The apparent reality of time travel.

Time travel is popular in the world of science fiction and is used in several films such as Back to the Future and The Time Traveler’s Wife, it has also been a subject of philosophical and scientific discussions for thousands of years. If time travel is possible, what will the ultimate consequences be? Many physicists think time travel (in theory) is possible, but do these theories also comply with the conditions of logic?

The main components of logic are the teachings of the claim, definition, inference and scientific evidence. There is no scientific evidence for time travel and that would mean that the theory of time travel, at least for now, do not meet the conditions of logic. Some claim, however, that even now mental time travel is possible. They believe that someone who are paranormal can (probably) see the future or the past. Other say that it will be possible with a time machine to travel back and forth in time. But are we able to overlook the consequences of this (physical) time traveling?

There are several thoughts to follow when it’s about time travel. It’s 2016 and your grandfather was born in 1930 and died in 2012, you were born in 1995. As a time traveler, you will go back to the year 1960 and here you decision to use a weapon in order to kill your grandfather before he can get children. If you manage to pull this off this would mean your grandfather never got to have children so one of your parents wouldn’t have born which results in you not being born. But if you were never born then you wouldn’t have been able to shoot your grandfather when you traveled back in time. This would, therefore, mean that there are restrictions on time travel. Also, if you are traveling back with the goal to kill your Grandpa, you will never be able to succeed. This would mean that there are constraints on the operations that everyone in the real world could accomplish. Sure, it could be that you miss your grandpa when you shoot at him but then there would have followed more coincidences that prevent you from killing your grandfather, all these coincidences are seen as extremely unlikely. In the end, history will always have to expand in the same way. Time travel would then perhaps be possible but it wouldn’t be possible to change it. There would be no ‘new’ timeline. Does this mean that a time traveler CANNOT interfere with anything that happened in the past or in the future because the timeline can’t change? When the past and the future can’t change timelines that should also mean that everything in the entire history and future is already established.

Also, you could say it’s a kind of Archilles and the tortoise. When you would go back in time with the goal to kill your Grandpa, the consequences of this move at a rate of one second per second to the future. But the world from where you came from is moving at the same speed of one second per second into the future. In this way, they would never be able to catch up with each other. This would then mean that a new timeline is created where the time traveler was never born.

But what about someone who has already died? Let’s say, it’s still 2016, you were born in 1995 and your grandfather was born in 1930 and died in 2012. When you go back in time to the year in which your Grandpa was still alive and you have a conversation with him, without him noticing that you came from the future, then this would mean that your Grandpa in that time is still alive. But when you go back to the year 1915, your grandfather wouldn’t have been born yet. For example, you could go to any year, past and future, in which someone in that year is still alive, not yet born or already died. Can you conclude from this that there is no possibility to die as you could travel to the future and pass the date on which you eventually die? But when there is no possibility to death what about being born? When you are far enough back in time in which you and your Grandpa both haven’t been born yet. In this year, your birth also has yet to take place. But when you go to the future, beyond your Grandpa’s and, ultimately, your own date of death would you still be alive even though you’ve actually died? Time wouldn’t be able to exist. There would be this eternal timeless ‘now. ‘ Or there would be even more restrictions to time traveling so that you can’t go past your death or before you were born.

A time traveler makes a new timeline or he travels back to an earlier time on the same timeline, but history should unfold in exactly the same way as if it originally did. As far back in time even before mankind existed and still be alive without ever to be born or so far in time that you’re still alive but actually are deceased. Possible we will, when traveling through time, encounter more restrictions then we had hoped for. Does this still make time traveling attractive?

Manon de Jong, 21-12-2021

See what I did there at the end?? The date… No? If you hadn’t seen it yet I assume you’ve seen it now. Anyway..
What did you think? Is your mind quietly trying to process all this information while you’re staring into space? I’d love to know.



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