The Voice of Time: A Man of Science or Philosophy?

After reading “Time Travelling: Possibility or Paradox” in The National Observer, perhaps the most significant detail for me was that the Time Traveler is referred to as the “Philosophical Inventor” (446). As the “Time Traveler,” which appears in both The New Review as well as the novel version that we are observing in class, one perhaps establishes several presuppositions about the character without having read much into the story at all. The “Time Traveler” essentially signifies that even though the story has hardly began to develop, he is directly associated with the event of traveling time, and that he perhaps has a significant role in that development. As we have the other characters present in the narrative identified solely as how they behave or what occupation they practice, so too is the Time Traveler identified by a singular facet of his life. The “Philosophical Inventor,” on the other hand, generates¬† a different approach at the story’s direction and development. As the Time Traveler, one could ask a variety of questions. “Has he actually traveled in time?” “At what point in his life did he travel time, and for what duration?” As a well established man of science, known in many “scientific circles,” (The New Review, pg. 98) one is perhaps inclined to trust his judgement. But a philosopher, on the other hand, elicits interrogation not only on his activities, but also calls into question the validity of not only what he is claiming, but perhaps even his motivations behind his actions. One may have questions that differ greatly from that which they would demand of a man of science. “Is the time travel hypothetical or literal?” “What sort of experience is the philosopher hoping to gain in his expedition?” “How will his discovery benefit anyone other than himself?” It is in this difference that a reader immediately experiences the story in a different way, starting simply with the first sentence of the story.

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