Philosophy of Time Travel with Chapman Waters
A self-proclaimed “nerd,” Chapman Waters, assistant professor/lecturer of philosophy, created Philosophy of Time Travel (PHIL 3012) because he enjoys consuming, analyzing and speculating about time travel narratives from popular fiction. Below, Waters provides more details about the class and discusses why time-traveling and non-time traveling students alike should participate in the course.
The course does not presuppose any previous background in philosophy. It would be a great course for any undergrad who is interested in the possibility and coherence of time travel, what modern physics has to say about time travel, metaphysical models of time travel, causal loops, the paradoxes of time travel, as well as practical and ethical problems with time travel. In addition to reading relevant philosophical literature, we will also examine issues to do with time travel via popular fiction – short stories, films and television. So, the course would also be suitable for students who just enjoy consuming, analyzing and speculating about time travel narratives.
It just so happens that philosophers are among those interested in issues to do with time and time travel, and that philosophical practice relies upon analytical skills appropriate to tackle these issues. Bringing these two things together (time travel fiction and philosophy) struck me as a particularly fun way for students to navigate their way through conceptual terrain that may otherwise seem daunting.
An appreciation of the fact that time is something completely familiar and mundane but, simultaneously, something mysteriously strange and fantastic.