What is the predestination paradox?

The predestination paradox is a time-travel concept in which an event is both a cause and an effect of itself.

One classic example of the predestination paradox is from the science fiction film 12 Monkeys. The film’s protagonist, Cole, is sent back in time to gather information about a virus that kills most of humanity. He eventually learns that his own actions in the past contributed to the outbreak of the virus, creating a self-referential loop of cause and effect. By trying to prevent the catastrophe, Cole is causing it.

Other time-travel paradoxes include the grandfather paradox and the bootstrap paradox.

More broadly, a paradox is a saying or scenario that seems logically contradictory or impossible, which upon closer examination reveals a deeper truth or coherence within a specific context or framework.