How might the occupants of any given universe identify which (if any) of the many proposed Time Travel Paradigms govern their potential use of time travel? By "Time Travel Paradigms" I refer to the proposed solutions to paradoxes attributed to traveling backwards in time, such as:
- Anything done while in the past will be revealed to have already occured in the past, before the time travel was attempted.
- The moment you arrive in the past, the timelines fork and you now exist in an alternate timeline.
- You simply can't.
My question is less about how the person travelling back in time would recognize the rules of time travel in their universe, but how that person (presumabley a scientist of sorts) would be able to decidedly prove that the universe works in that particular, definable way to the general/scientific public.
It would seem that the bare minimum would be the ability to travel back in time again and again, while producing the same results each time. Then, of course, multiple sources would need to independently verify the accuracy of these results by going back in time themselves. All in all, it would add up to quite a bit of time traveling with uncertain consequences.
Additionally, it seems that certain methods would be difficult to discern from others. For example, considering the two examples I listed above, assume I traveled back in time in an attempt to kill Hitler. I fail, and return to the present. Nothing is noticeably different, but I have no real proof whether my assassination attempt happened in the previous history of my universe (the first supposition above), or if my act split the timelines and I now exist in a very, very similar alternate timeline (second supposition).