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Rennick, Stephanie. Things mere mortals can do, but philosophers can’t
2015, Analysis 75(1): 22-26
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Joe Slater

Abstract: David Lewis famously argued that the time traveller ‘can’ murder her grandfather, even though she never will: it is compossible with a particular set of facts including her motive, opportunity and skill (1976: 150). I argue that while ordinary agents ‘can’ under Lewis’s conception, philosophers cannot – the latter will not only fail to fulfill their homicidal intentions but also fail to form them in the first place.

Comment: If one is teaching the grandfather paradox, this is a great reading to use. It's short, clearly written and nicely conveys tensions associated with the paradox.

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