Noûs 56 (1):227-255 (2022)

Authors
Eddy Keming Chen
University of California, San Diego
Abstract
Two of the most difficult problems in the foundations of physics are (1) what gives rise to the arrow of time and (2) what the ontology of quantum mechanics is. I propose a unified 'Humean' solution to the two problems. Humeanism allows us to incorporate the Past Hypothesis and the Statistical Postulate into the best system, which we then use to simplify the quantum state of the universe. This enables us to confer the nomological status to the quantum state in a way that adds no significant complexity to the best system and solves the ''supervenient-kind problem'' facing the original version of the Past Hypothesis. We call the resultant theory the Humean unification. It provides a unified explanation of time asymmetry and quantum entanglement. On this theory, what gives rise to time's arrow is also responsible for quantum phenomena. The new theory has a separable mosaic, a best system that is simple and non-vague, less tension between quantum mechanics and special relativity, and a higher degree of theoretical and dynamical unity. The Humean unification leads to new insights that can be useful to Humeans and non-Humeans alike.
Keywords time's arrow  quantum entanglement  Best system analysis  Past Hypothesis  the Mentaculus  laws of nature  vagueness  narratability  Lorentz invariance  Initial Projection Hypothesis
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Reprint years 2022
DOI 10.1111/nous.12355
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References found in this work BETA

Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
The Metaphysics Within Physics.Tim Maudlin - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Time and Chance.David Z. Albert - 2000 - Harvard University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Quantum Mechanics in a Time-Asymmetric Universe: On the Nature of the Initial Quantum State.Eddy Keming Chen - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (4):1155–1183.
Fundamental Nomic Vagueness.Eddy Keming Chen - 2022 - Philosophical Review 131 (1):1-49.
The Past Hypothesis and the Nature of Physical Laws.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - In Barry Loewer, Eric Winsberg & Brad Weslake (eds.), Time's Arrows and the Probability Structure of the World. Harvard University Press.

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