Retrocasualty in Time Travel Essay

Retrocasualty in Time Travel Essay

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“Can the future affect the present, and can the present affect the past?”(1) This is the question posed by the philosophical concept of retrocasualty – the product of time travel to the past. Time travel has been a common staple in science fiction writing, so many of its explanations owe their origins to tales of protagonists discovering its often confusing implications. Many people may already have a great understanding of a few hypothesized behaviors of time travel due to popular media, such as Back to the Future, Star Trek, and many other works of fiction. Currently, scientific knowledge is too premature to know if time travel is possible, no less how it behaves, so questions and answers are open for anybody to contemplate. The most famous question of time travel is the one posed by the temporal paradox, in which the time traveler invokes a condition which causes the circumstances that led up to time travel, or the time traveler’s presence, to become impossible. Many theories have attempted to answer this paradox, introducing behaviorally diverse concepts such as merging time lines, multiple dimensions, or a nature of time where everything is predestined. The act of time travel can produce radically different effects, depending on which solution to the temporal paradox is applied.

The largest difference between expressed solutions to the temporal paradox is in what degree they assume deterministic behavior of the time line. The time line protection hypothesis(2) is a rigidly deterministic solution to the temporal paradox, one that hypothesizes that any action that can cause a paradox will ultimately fail, due to some unforeseen twist of fate. This paradox assumes that all time travel to the past is (or will) become part of t...


... middle of paper ...


... then, it will remain an elusive tool for science fiction and philosophical contemplation.


Works Cited

“Retrocasualty.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 22 July 2004. Web. 05:51, 11 October 2010

2) “Temporal Paradox – Time Line Protection Hypothesis.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 22 July 2004. Web. 05:51, 11 October 2010

3) “Temporal Paradox – Harmony Theory.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 22 July 2004. Web. 05:51, 11 October 2010

4) “Temporal Paradox – Temporal Merging Hypothesis.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 22 July 2004. Web. 05:51, 11 October 2010

5) “Temporal Paradox – Time Line Protection Hypothesis.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 22 July 2004. Web. 05:51, 11 October 2010

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