XII: Is time 'handed' in a quantum world?

Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 100 (3):247–269 (2000)
Abstract
In a classical mechanical world, the fundamental laws of nature are reversible. The laws of nature treat the past and future as mirror images of each other. Temporally asymmetric phenomena are ultimately said to arise from initial conditions. But are the laws of nature also reversible in a quantum world? This paper argues that they are not, that time in a quantum world prefers a particular 'hand' or ordering. I argue, first, that the probabilistic algorithm used in the theory picks out a preferred direction of time for almost all interpretations of the theory, and second, that contrary to the received wisdom the Schr?dinger evolution is also irreversible. The status of Wigner reversal invariance is then discussed. I conclude that the quantum world is fundamentally irreversible, but manages to appear (thanks to Wigner reversal invariance) reversible at the classical level
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Citations of this work BETA
Jill North (2010). An Empirical Approach to Symmetry and Probability. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 41 (1):27-40.
Jill North (2008). Two Views on Time Reversal. Philosophy of Science 75 (2):201-223.
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