What time travelers cannot not do (but are responsible for anyway)
- Joshua Spencer
- … show all 1 hide
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
The Principle of Alternative Possibilities is the intuitive idea that someone is morally responsible for an action only if she could have done otherwise. Harry Frankfurt has famously presented putative counterexamples to this intuitive principle. In this paper, I formulate a simple version of the Principle of Alternative Possibilities that invokes a course-grained notion of actions. After warming up with a Frankfurt-Style Counterexample to this principle, I introduce a new kind of counterexample based on the possibility of time travel. At the end of the paper, I formulate a more sophisticated version of the Principle of Alternative Possibilities that invokes a certain fine grained notion of actions. I then explain how this new kind of counterexample can be augmented to show that even the more sophisticated principle is false.
- Alvarez, M. (2009). Actions, thought-experiments and the ‘principle of alternate possibilites’. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 87, 61–81. CrossRef
- Arntzenius, F., & Maudlin, T. (2002). Time travel in modern physics. In C. Callender (Ed.), Time, reality and experience. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Bricker, P. (1991). Plenitude of possible structures. The Journal of Philosophy, 88, 607–619.
- Davies, P. (2001). How to build a time machine. New York: Viking Penguin.
- Fischer, J. M. (2003). Responsibility and agent causation. In D. Widerker & M. McKenna (Eds.), Moral responsibility and alternative possibilities. Aldershot: Ashgate.
- Fischer, J. M. (2006). “Introduction” in My Way. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Frankfurt, H. (1969). Alternate possibilities and moral responsibility. Journal of Philosophy, 66, 829–839. CrossRef
- Kiourti, I. (2008). Killing baby Suzy. Philosophical Studies, 139, 343–352. CrossRef
- Lewis, D. (1976). The paradoxes of time travel. American Philosophical Quarterly 13, (pp. 145–152). Reprinted in Philosophical Papers vol. II. (pp. 67–80) Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Sider, T. (2002). Time travel, coincidences and counterfactuals. Philosophical Studies, 110, 115–138. CrossRef
- van Inwagen, P. (1983). An essay on free will. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Vihvelin, K. (1996). What time travelers cannot do. Philosophical Studies, 81, 315–330. CrossRef
- Vranas, P. B. M. (2010). What time travellers may be able to do. Philosophical Studies, 150, 115–121. CrossRef
- What time travelers cannot not do (but are responsible for anyway)
Volume 166, Issue 1 , pp 149-162
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Time travel
- Principle of Alternative Possibilities
- Joshua Spencer (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, 3243 N Downer Hall, Rm 612, Milwaukee, WI, 53211, USA