Re: Market failure to sufficently weigh the future?

From: Robin Hanson (
Date: Tue Oct 31 2000 - 12:44:21 MST

Hal Finney wrote:
> > 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? ...


>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 have in mind the standard relativistic view of space-time as a singular
always existing whole. The standard view presented in a course on general
relativity, for example, or in a published paper analyzing time machines.
Even in a non-deterministic universe, if there aren't mystical "free-will"
demons acting from without, an agent making a choice is really just
discovering what the future is.

Robin Hanson
Asst. Prof. Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030-4444
703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323

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