Re: Market failure to sufficently weigh the future?

Date: Tue Oct 31 2000 - 11:46:53 MST

Robin writes:
> Well yes of course you can't literally change the past, any more than you
> can literally change the future. If you learn something about the way the
> future will be, via a time machine or something else, then you are stuck
> with that being the way the future will be no matter what you do.

Are you saying that the reason you can't change the future is because of
the possible existence of time machines? That doesn't seem to be a very
strong argument, since it is not yet known if time machines can exist.

Or are there other reasons you can't literally change the future?
For example, in a deterministic universe there is a sense in which you
can't change the future, because you can't make any choices, they are
pre-ordained. Is this the kind of thing you mean?

I think most people would say that you can change the future but you
can't change the past, and that this is one of the features that most
prominently distinguishes the future from the past.

And this distinction is very relevant, because the paper's analysis relies
on a certain equivalence between our attitudes towards the future and
towards the past, which some of us are challenging. If the future is
much like the past, that strengthens the paper's position. However if
the future is fundamentally different from the past, so different that our
attitudes towards future events must be fundamentally different from our
attitudes towards past events, then that tends to undercut the analysis.


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