Time Travel and Moral Hubris

In “Should Time Travel Be A Moral Imperative?” Bruce Dorminey asks the question of MIT quantum mechanic Seth Lloyd, “If you think you can go back to change something, clearly you would be tempted to do this. The question is would it do any good?” While this is an interesting discussion, it doesn’t really ask the question about moral superiority.

If we travel back in time, are our morals better than those that came before us? We might say Hitler was a horrible person and should be killed long before Nazi Germany takes power in 1932. But, do we have the moral authority to do this? If we say yes, then we accept that someone from the future may well have the moral authority to change our circumstances. Or, we we take the stance that our current moral judgement is at the peak, and both past and future moral decisions are somehow less than ours? The has a hubris akin to the creators of Manifest Destiny and the subjugation of the Native Americans, or the various Crusades, or even the hubris of the Nazi’s and their quest to cleans the gene pool.

I submit that assuming moral superiority over another time period is similar to Icarus, and our wings are likely to get burned.

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