Everettian Formulation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics


The second law of thermodynamics is traditionally interpreted as a coarse-grained result of classical mechanics. Recently its relation with quantum mechanical processes such as decoherence and measurement has been revealed in literature. In this paper we will formulate the second law and the associated time irreversibility following Everett’s idea: systems entangled with an object getting to know the branch in which they live. Accounting for this self-locating knowledge, we get two forms of entropy: objective entropy measuring the uncertainty of the state of the object alone, and subjective entropy measuring the information carried by the self-locating knowledge. By showing that the summation of the two forms of entropy is a conserved and perspective-free quantity, we interpret the second law as a statement of irreversibility in knowledge acquisition. This essentially derives the thermodynamic arrow of time from the subjective arrow of time, and provides a unified explanation for varieties of the second law, as well as the past hypothesis.



External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

  • Only published works are available at libraries.

Similar books and articles

The Second Law of Thermodynamics and the Psychological Arrow of Time.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (1):85-107.
In Search of the Holy Grail: How to Reduce the Second Law of Thermodynamics.Katie Robertson - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (4):987-1020.
Bluff Your Way in the Second Law of Thermodynamics.Jos Uffink - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 32 (3):305-394.
Fundamentality and Time’s Arrow.Christian Loew - 2018 - Philosophy of Science 85 (3):483-500.


Added to PP

337 (#64,442)

6 months
113 (#47,129)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Yu Feng
University of New South Wales (PhD)

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Remarks on the Mind-Body Question.E. Wigner - 2003 - In John Heil (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: A Guide and Anthology. New York: Oxford University Press.
”Relative state’ formulation of quantum mechanics.Hugh Everett - 1957 - Reviews of Modern Physics 29 (3):454--462.

Add more references