Foundations of Physics 40 (2):205-238 (2010)
AbstractSchulman (Entropy 7(4):221–233, 2005) has argued that Boltzmann’s intuition, that the psychological arrow of time is necessarily aligned with the thermodynamic arrow, is correct. Schulman gives an explicit physical mechanism for this connection, based on the brain being representable as a computer, together with certain thermodynamic properties of computational processes. Hawking (Physical Origins of Time Asymmetry, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1994) presents similar, if briefer, arguments. The purpose of this paper is to critically examine the support for the link between thermodynamics and an arrow of time for computers. The principal arguments put forward by Schulman and Hawking will be shown to fail. It will be shown that any computational process that can take place in an entropy increasing universe, can equally take place in an entropy decreasing universe. This conclusion does not automatically imply a psychological arrow can run counter to the thermodynamic arrow. Some alternative possible explanations for the alignment of the two arrows will be briefly discussed
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References found in this work
Time’s Arrow and Archimedes’ Point: New Directions for the Physics of Time.Huw Price - 1996 - Oup Usa.
Physics and Chance: Philosophical Issues in the Foundations of Statistical Mechanics.Lawrence Sklar - 1993 - Cambridge University Press.
Citations of this work
Time Reversal.Bryan W. Roberts - 2021 - In Eleanor Knox & Alistair Wilson (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Physics. Routledge.
A Revised Attack on Computational Ontology.Nir Fresco & Phillip J. Staines - 2014 - Minds and Machines 24 (1):101-122.
Ambiguities in Order-Theoretic Formulations of Thermodynamics.Robert Marsland Iii, Harvey R. Brown & Giovanni Valente - unknown
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