Do Cry Over Spilt Milk

The Monist 88 (3):370-387 (2005)
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Abstract

There is widespread agreement, even among those who accept the possibility of backward causation, that it is impossible to change the past. I argue that this agreement corresponds to a relatively uninteresting understanding of what changing the past amounts to. In one sense it is indeed impossible to change the past: in no possible world is an action performed which makes the past in that world different from the past in that world. In another sense, however, it may be possible to change the past: maybe in some possible world an action is performed which makes the past in that world different from the actual past. I argue that those who accept the possibility of backward causation are committed to accepting the possibility that the past changes in the latter sense.

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Peter Vranas
University of Wisconsin, Madison

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