Ontological Paradox

Wikipedia’s definition along with examples from movies, tv and literature:

An ontological paradox is a paradox of time travel that is often used as a convention in science fiction. It is very closely related to the predestination paradox and usually occurs at the same time.

Because of the possibility of influencing the past while time travelling, one way of explaining why history does not change is by saying that whatever has happened was meant to happen. A time traveller attempting to alter the past in this model, intentionally or not, would only be fulfilling his role in creating history, not changing it. The Novikov self-consistency principle proposes that contradictory causal loops cannot form, but that consistent ones can.

However, a scenario can occur where items or information are passed from the future to the past, which then become the same items or information that are subsequently passed back. This not only creates a loop, but a situation where these items have no discernible origin.

The paradox raises the ontological questions of where, when and by whom the items were created or the information derived. Time loop logic operates on similar principles, sending the solutions to computation problems back in time to be checked for correctness without ever being computed “originally.”

(via del.icio.us/pinkheadedbug)