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A Time Travel Dialogue

A Time Travel Dialogue John W. Carroll, et al.
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78374-037-6 £8.95
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78374-038-3 £18.95
PDF ISBN: 978-1-78374-039-0 £0.00
epub ISBN: 978-1-78374-040-6 £2.95
mobi ISBN: 978-1-78374-041-3 £2.95

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Is time travel just a confusing plot device deployed by science fiction authors and Hollywood filmmakers to amaze and amuse? Or might empirical data prompt a scientific hypothesis of time travel? Structured on a fascinating dialogue involving a distinguished physicist, Dr. Rufus, a physics graduate student and a computer scientist this book probes an experimentally supported hypothesis of backwards time travel – and in so doing addresses key metaphysical issues, such as causation, identity over time and free will.

The setting is the Jefferson National Laboratory during a period of five days in 2010. Dr. Rufus’s experimental search for the psi-lepton and the resulting intractable data spurs the discussion on time travel. She and her two colleagues are pushed by their observations to address the grandfather paradox and other puzzles about backwards causation, with attention also given to causal loops, multi-dimensional time, and the prospect that only the present exists. Sensible solutions to the main puzzles emerge, ultimately advancing the case for time travel really being possible.

A Time Travel Dialogue addresses the possibility of time travel, approaching familiar paradoxes in a rigorous, engaging, and fun manner. It follows in the long philosophical tradition of using dialogue to present philosophical ideas and arguments, but is ground breaking in its use of the dialogue format to introduce readers to the metaphysics of time travel, and is also distinctive in its use of lab results to drive philosophical analysis. The discussion of data that might decide whether time is one-dimensional (one timeline) or multi-dimensional (branching time) is especially novel.

The PDF and epub editions of this book contain animated graphs. If your device supports MP4 video files, you can click on the image to trigger the animation. To read the interactive PDF, we suggest using Adobe Reader (and not Adobe Preview), which can be downloaded for free from the Adobe website. If you are reading on an iphone or ipad, we recommend using iBooks, which is available free of charge from the App Store. The animations are also available on our Additional Resources page.

Visit A Time Travel Website for supplemental discussion of the paradoxes of time travel.
This resource is maintained by John Carroll.

A Time Travel Dialogue
John W. Carroll, et al | August 2014
viii + 83 | 14 Images/Animations (MP4) | 6.14" x 9.21" (234 x 156 mm)
ISBN Paperback: 9781783740376
ISBN Hardback: 9781783740383
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781783740390
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781783740406
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 9781783740413
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0043
BIC subject codes: PGZ (Time, time systems & standards), HPJ (Philosophy: metaphysics & ontology), PH (Physics); BISAC subject codes: PHI013000 (PHILOSOPHY / Metaphysics), SCI013050 (SCIENCE / Chemistry / Physical & Theoretical); OCLC Number: 910906651.

List of Illustrations

1. Monday
2. Tuesday
3. Wednesday
4. Thursday
5. Friday

Credits and Acknowledgements


John W. Carroll is professor of philosophy at North Carolina State University. His research focuses on metaphysics and philosophy of science, especially the topics of laws of nature, causation, motion, explanation, and time travel. His The Humean Tradition, which appeared in The Philosophical Review, was reprinted in The Philosopher's Annual, XIII, as a top ten philosophy article appearing in 1990. He is the author of Laws of Nature (Cambridge, 1994), co-author with Ned Markosian of An Introduction to Metaphysics (Cambridge, 2010), and the editor of Readings on Laws of Nature (Pittsburgh, 2004). Professor Carroll is, however, most proud of his work as editor and producer of A Time Travel Dialogue and A Time Travel Website, two superb pieces of interdisciplinary and collaborative scholarship done with his metaphysics students.

In A Time Travel Dialogue, lab results drive philosophical analysis. Simple graphs are used to present data from the experiments. Embedded still images suffice for understanding the book, but supplemental animated versions of the graphs are also available.

Please find below the on-line version of the animated graphs, grouped by chapter:

(Wednesday has no animations)

The animated graphs are best viewed in conjunction with reading the dialogue because the interpretation of the results evolves as the dialogue progresses.

Visit A Time Travel Website for supplemental discussion of the paradoxes of time travel.
This resource is maintained by Professor Carroll.