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Nan Chen
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You seem to be making a distinction between, on the one hand, the Fat Man who decides not to sacrifice himself and stands by and watches the trolley go on its path with the scenario where the Fat Man actively resists someone trying to push him. You suggest that in the later case, the Fat Man "causes" the deaths of the five down the tracks while in the former scenario he presumably do not. I don't understand this distinction. It seems to me that in *both* cases, the Fat Man causes the deaths, in some sense, of the 5 people down the tracks. By standing by and watching, that is one of the causes of their death as much as if he had actively resisted the utilitarian pusher.
Toggle Commented May 19, 2011 on Trolley Problems at Tomkow.com
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Nan Chen is now following Vihvelin
May 17, 2011
"If time travel to the past is permitted by the laws, then Time-Slice determinism is false. Time travel to the past entails the nomological possibility of causal loops, and causal loops entail the falsity of Time-Slice determinism because, while every event in the loop might have a cause the loop itself has no cause (neither sufficient nor probabilistic). It follows, then, that facts about the present, together with facts about the laws, are not logically sufficient for facts about the future. And this means that Time-Slice determinism is false." I don't understand this line of reasoning. It seems to me that in causal loops, we may reason as we do in what you have called "time-slice determinism" and say that the events before the loop at some time prior cause every event in the loop and thus the loop itself is caused by prior events. In your example, you are in the kitchen and is stopped from walking across by someone from the future but this person has a history and her history may be determined at the point before the loop, at the time just before you get your coffee (that she will enter in her time machine and...). The only difference between run of the mill time slice determinism and determinism in causal loops seem to be that causal chains "double back" and then forward again (once the person appears in front of you blocking your way) but there doesn't seem to be any reason to deny that the events in the loop are wholly determined by events before. On another note, the causal loop and forking paths "solutions" to avoid paradox in time travel seem to not be exhaustive of all backward time travel possibilities that avoid the familiar paradoxes. I have never heard anyone mention this possibility. Consider a world where the growing-block world is true and God in that world had wanted to "rewind" the course of the world, its entire history to some point before the furthest point the block's edge has advanced. The universe is "reversed" and I'd imagine that things would go like a rewound dvd video to some previous time. Then if determinism is true in that world, it would "replay" like it has the last time to that furthest point again. Now this kind of backward time "travel" is only backward in the "internal" time relative to those in the block universe but it occurs in the regular temporal direction in some external time or their "god's time." So it's "internal backwards" but not external backwards
Toggle Commented May 18, 2011 on What TimeTravelers Cannot Do at Vihvelin.com
Nan Chen is now following The Typepad Team
May 17, 2011