, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 173–191

Backwards Causation, Time, and the Open Future

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s12133-008-0030-2

Cite this article as:
Miller, K. Int Ontology Metaphysics (2008) 9: 173. doi:10.1007/s12133-008-0030-2


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.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Philosophical and Historical InquiryThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.The Centre for TimeThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia