On the brussels school's arrow of time in quantum theory

Philosophy of Science 63 (3):374-400 (1996)
This paper examines the problem of founding irreversibility on reversible equations of motion from the point of view of the Brussels school's recent developments in the foundations of quantum statistical mechanics. A detailed critique of both their 'subdynamics' and 'transformation' theory is given. It is argued that the subdynamics approach involves a generalized form of 'coarse-graining' description, whereas, transformation theory cannot lead to truly irreversible processes pointing to a preferred direction of time. It is concluded that the Brussels school's conception of microscopic temporal irreversibility, as such, is tacitly assumed at the macroscopic level. Finally a logical argument is provided which shows, independently of the mathematical formalism of the theory concerned, that statistical reasoning alone is not sufficient to explain the arrow of time
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