On Philosophy

December 31, 2006


Filed under: General Philosophy — Peter @ 12:00 am

Initially this was just a joke, until I realized that people are doing basically the same thing with time capsules. Question of the day: does the idea of the past communicating with the future (in a one way dialog) make sense, or does it rest on a fundamental misconception of time?



  1. Very good site. Will come here often when I feel like banging my head a little harder against a wall. Happy New Year to all!

    Comment by Nikeroo — December 31, 2006 @ 4:55 am

  2. I can imagine Diana having sent a message to Charles for the day he becomes king, stating that the new Prince of Wales is not his son. When a ‘message from the past’ knows who and when to reach, and about what to speak, it is much more than a bottle in the ocean and can be at least as powerful as real (one-way) messages.

    Comment by mandarine — December 31, 2006 @ 10:28 am

  3. Along Mandarine’s line, I think that qua communication, it requires a certain degree of specificity in its intended audience. Just sending out a message where you can’t be sure who will read it isn’t really communication, but you can communicate with, say, a paralyzed person or whatever.

    Bonus question: Is the Arecibo message communication?

    Comment by Carl — December 31, 2006 @ 1:58 pm

  4. In principle every communication is from the past to the future, because it’s received at a later time than it’s sent. The delay is just a matter of degree. Where a large delay is intentional, it becomes socially/culturally interesting, but I don’t see a philosophical issue here.

    I’ve just started a blog on consciousness (mainly) that you might like to link to. It’s at http://www.robinfaichney.org/

    Comment by Robin Faichney — January 1, 2007 @ 9:24 am

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