The rise and fall of time-symmetrized quantum mechanics

Philosophy of Science 60 (3):488-499 (1993)
Abstract
In the context of a discussion of time symmetry in the quantum mechanical measurement process, Aharonov et al. (1964) derived an expression concerning probabilities for the outcomes of measurements conducted on systems which have been pre- and postselected on the basis of both preceding and succeeding measurements. Recent literature has claimed that a resulting "time-symmetrized" interpretation of quantum mechanics has significant implications for some basic issues, such as contextuality and determinateness, in elementary, nonrelativistic quantum mechanics. Bub and Brown (1986) have shown that under the standard interpretation of the aforementioned expression, these claims employ ensembles which are not well defined. It is argued here that under a counterfactual interpretation of the expression, these claims may be understood as employing well-defined ensembles; it is shown, however, that such an interpretation cannot be reconciled with the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics
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