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Miller, Kristie, , . Backwards Causation, Time, and the Open Future
2008, Metaphysica 9(2): 173-191.
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Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Abstract: Here are some intuitions we have about the nature of space and time. There is something fundamentally different about the past, present, and future. What is definitive of the past is that the past events are fixed. What is definitive of the future is that future events are not fixed. What is definitive of the present is that it marks the objective ontological border between the past and the future and, by doing so, instantiates a particularly salient phenomenological property of nowness. Call the combination of these intuitions according to which there exists an objective present, a fixed past, and an open future, the intuitive view. I argue that, given the intuitive view, the possibility of backwards causation – and hence, for instance, backwards time travel – is problematic.

Comment: A nice paper to use near the start of a Philosophy of Time course, or in a Metaphysics course before introducing backwards causation and time travel. This is because it gives a good motivation of the ‘common sense’ view, so it could be good to get clear on this and what it can entail.

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