In attempting to derive irreversible macroscopic thermodynamics from reversible microscopic dynamics, Boltzmann inadvertently smuggled in a premise that assumed the very irreversibility he was trying to prove: ‘molecular chaos.’ The program of ‘Einselection’ within Everettian approaches faces a similar ‘Loschmidt’s Paradox’: the universe, according to the Everettian picture, is a closed system obeying only unitary dynamics, and it therefore contains no distinguishable environmental subsystems with the necessary ‘phase randomness’ to effect einselection of a pointer observable. The theoretically unjustified assumption of (...) distinguishable environmental subsystems is the hidden premise that makes the derivation of einselection circular. In effect, it presupposes the ‘emergent’ structures from the beginning. Thus the problem of basis ambiguity remains unsolved in Everettian interpretations. (shrink)
A recent ontological variant of Cramer’s Transactional Interpretation, called “Possibilist Transactional Interpretation” or PTI, is extended to the relativistic domain. The present interpretation clarifies the concept of ‘absorption,’ which plays a crucial role in TI (and in PTI). In particular, in the relativistic domain, coupling amplitudes between fields are interpreted as amplitudes for the generation of confirmation waves (CW) by a potential absorber in response to offer waves (OW), whereas in the nonrelativistic context CW are taken as generated with certainty. (...) It is pointed out that solving the measurement problem requires venturing into the relativistic domain in which emissions and absorptions take place; nonrelativistic quantum mechanics only applies to quanta considered as ‘already in existence’ (i.e., ‘free quanta’), and therefore cannot fully account for the phenomenon of measurement, in which quanta are tied to sources and sinks. (shrink)
Tim Maudlin’s argument for the inconsistency of Cramer’s Transactional Interpretation (TI) of quantum theory has been considered in some detail by Joseph Berkovitz, who has provided a possible solution to this challenge at the cost of a significant empirical lacuna on the part of TI. The present paper proposes an alternative solution in which Maudlin’s charge of inconsistency is evaded but at no cost of empirical content on the part of TI. However, Maudlin’s argument is taken as ruling out Cramer’s (...) heuristic “pseudotime” explanation of the realization of one transaction out of many. (shrink)
A recent ontological modification of Cramer’s Transactional Interpretation, called “Possibilist Transactional Interpretation” or PTI, is extended to the relativistic domain. The present interpretation clarifies the concept of ‘absorption,’ which plays a crucial role in TI. In particular, in the relativistic domain, coupling amplitudes between fields are interpreted as amplitudes for the generation of confirmation waves by a potential absorber in response to offer waves, whereas in the nonrelativistic context CW are taken as generated with certainty. It is pointed out that (...) solving the measurement problem requires venturing into the relativistic domain in which emissions and absorptions take place; nonrelativistic quantum mechanics only applies to quanta considered as ‘already in existence’, and therefore cannot fully account for the phenomenon of measurement, in which quanta are tied to sources and sinks. (shrink)
Cramer's Transactional Interpretation (TI) is applied to the ``Quantum Liar Experiment'' (QLE). It is shown how some apparently paradoxical features can be explained naturally, albeit nonlocally (since TI is an explicitly nonlocal interpretation). At the same time, it is proposed that in order to preserve the elegance and economy of the interpretation, it may be necessary to consider offer and confirmation waves as propagating in a ``higher space'' of possibilities.
It is hypothesized that de Broglie’s ‘matter waves’ provide a dynamical basis for Minkowski spacetime in an antisubstantivalist or relational account. The relativity of simultaneity is seen as an effect of the de Broglie oscillation together with a basic relativity postulate, while the dispersion relation from finite rest mass gives rise to the differentiation of spatial and temporal axes. Thus spacetime is seen as not fundamental, but rather as emergent from the quantum level. A result by Solov’ev which demonstrates that (...) time is not an applicable concept at the quantum level is adduced in support of this claim. Finally, it is noted that de Broglie waves can be seen as the “bridge of becoming” discussed by ( 2005 ). (shrink)
It is pointed out that a slight variation on the Wheeler Delayed Choice Experiment presents the same challenge to orthodox quantum mechanics as Maudlin-type contingent absorber experiments present to the Transactional Interpretation. Therefore, the latter cannot be used as a basis for refutation of TI.
It is proposed that the recent controversy over "time-symmetric quantum counterfactuals" (TSQCs), based on the Aharonov-Bergmann-Lebowitz Rule for measurements of pre- and post-selected systems, can be clarified by taking TSQCs to be counterfactuals with a specific type of compound antecedent. In that case, inconsistency proofs such as that of Sharp and Shanks (1993) are not applicable, and the main issue becomes not whether such statements are true, but whether they are nontrivial. The latter question is addressed and answered in the (...) negative. Thus it is concluded that TSQCs, understood as counterfactuals with a compound antecedent, are true but only trivially so, and provide no new contingent information about specific quantum systems (except in special cases already identified in literature). (shrink)
The Transactional Interpretation has been subject at various times to a challenge based on a type of thought experiment first proposed by Maudlin. It has been argued by several authors that such experiments do not in fact constitute a significant problem for the transactional picture. The purpose of this work is to point out that, when the relativistic level of the interpretation is considered, Maudlin-type challenges cannot even be mounted, since the putative 'slow-moving offer wave,' taken as subject to contingent (...) confirmation, does not exist. This is a consequence of the Davies relativistic quantum-mechanical version of the direct-action theory together with the asymmetry between fermionic field sources and bosonic fields. The Maudlin challenge therefore evaporates completely when the relativistic level of the theory is taken into account. (shrink)
This essay provides a historical, philosophical, and critical overview of the development of the transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics. It is separated into two parts. Part I presents the history and development of TI from 1986 up to 2016. Part II lays out current areas of divergence among researchers in TI.
It is argued that the Heisenberg picture of standard quantum mechanics does not save Einstein locality as claimed in Deutsch and Hayden (Proc. R. Soc. Lond. A 456, 1759–1774, 2000). In particular, the EPR-type correlations that the authors obtain by comparing two qubits in a local manner are shown to exist before that comparison. In view of this result, the local comparison argument would appear to be ineffective in supporting their locality claim.
Lewis has recently argued that Maudlin׳s contingent absorber experiment remains a significant problem for the Transactional Interpretation. He argues that the only straightforward way to resolve the challenge is by describing the absorbers as offer waves, and asserts that this is a previously unnoticed aspect of the challenge for TI. This argument is refuted in two basic ways: it is noted that the Maudlin experiment cannot be meaningfully recast with absorbers described by quantum states; instead the author replaces it with (...) an ordinary which-way experiment; and the extant rebuttals to the Maudlin challenge in its original form are not in fact subject to the alleged flaws that Lewis ascribes to them. This paper further seeks to clarify the issues raised in Lewis’ presentation concerning the distinction between quantum systems and macroscopic objects in TI. It is noted that the latest, possibilist version of TI has no ambiguity concerning macroscopic absorbers. In particular, macroscopic objects are not subject to indeterminate trajectories, since they are continually undergoing collapse. It is concluded that the Maudlin challenge poses no significant problem for the transactional interpretation. (shrink)
The "N-box experiment" is a much-discussed thought experiment in quantum mechanics. It is claimed by some authors that a single particle prepared in a superposition of N+1 box locations and which is subject to a final "post-selection" measurement corresponding to a different superposition can be said to have occupied "with certainty" N boxes during the intervening time. However, others have argued that under closer inspection, this surprising claim fails to hold. Aharonov and Vaidman have continued their advocacy of the claim (...) in question by proposing a variation on the N-box experiment, in which the boxes are replaced by shutters and the pre- and post-selected particle is entangled with a photon. These authors argue that the resulting "N-shutter experiment" strengthens their original claim regarding the N-box experiment. It is argued in this article that the apparently surprising features of this variation are no more robust than those of the N-box experiment and that it is not accurate to say that the particle is "with certainty" in all N shutters at any given time. [Enlarge Image]. (shrink)
The attractive feature of the Everett approach is its admirable spirit of approaching the quantum puzzle with a Zen-like "beginner’s mind" in order to try to envision what the pure formalism might be saying about quantum reality, even if that journey leads to a strange place. It is argued that the transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics (TI), appropriately interpreted, shares the same motivation and achieves much more, with far fewer conceptual perplexities, by taking into account heretofore overlooked features of the (...) quantum formalism itself (i.e. advanced states). In particular, TI does not need to talk about brain states, consciousness, or observers (rational or otherwise). In its possibilist variant (“PTI”), it shares the realist virtues of treating state vector branches as genuine dynamical entities, without having to explain how or why all of their associated outcomes actually happen (they don’t), how to account for a plenitude of counterpart observers in some coherent notion of trans-temporal identity of the bifurcating observers (observers don’t bifurcate in TI), nor how the certainty of all outcomes could be consistent with any coherent theory of probability, let alone the Born probability (the Born probability emerges naturally in TI). In short, TI is precisely the one-world interpretation Kent is looking for in his (2010). (shrink)
The Frauchiger–Renner Paradox is an extension of paradoxes based on the “Problem of Measurement,” such as Schrödinger’s Cat and Wigner’s Friend. All these paradoxes stem from assuming that quantum theory has only unitary physical dynamics, and the attendant ambiguity about what counts as a ‘measurement’—i.e., the inability to account for the observation of determinate measurement outcomes from within the theory itself. This paper discusses a basic inconsistency arising in the FR scenario at a much earlier point than the derived contradiction: (...) namely, the inconsistency inherent in treating an improper mixture as a proper, epistemic mixture. This is an illegitimate procedure that is nevertheless endemic if quantum theory is assumed to be always unitary. In contrast, under a non-unitary account of quantum state reduction yielding determinate outcomes, the use of a proper mixture for measurement results becomes legitimate, and this entire class of paradoxes cannot be mounted. The conclusion is that the real lesson of the FR paradox is that it is the unitary-only assumption that needs to be critically reassessed. (shrink)
A large literature has grown up around the proposed use of ‘weak measurements’ to allegedly provide information about hidden ontological features of quantum systems. This paper attempts to clarify the fact that ‘weak measurements’ involve strong measurements on one member of an entangled system. The only thing ‘weak’ about such measurements is that the correlation established via the entanglement does not correspond to eigenstates of the ‘weakly measured observable’ for the remaining component system subject to the weak measurement. All observed (...) statistics are straightforwardly and easily predicted by standard quantum mechanics. Specifically, it is noted that measurement of the pointer steers the remaining degree of freedom into new states with new statistical properties—constituting a non-trivial disturbance. In addition, standard quantum mechanics readily allows us to conditionalize on a final state if we choose, so the ‘post-selection’ that features prominently in time-symmetric formulations is also equipment from standard quantum theory. Assertions in the literature that weak measurements leave a system negligibly disturbed, and/or that standard quantum theory is cumbersome for computing the predicted measurement results, are therefore unsupportable, and ontological claims based on such assertions need to be critically reassessed. (shrink)
Connected Lives examines the account of human nature that is implicit in an ethics of care, a picture of human lives that emphasizes interdependency, embodiment, and social connectedness. The book makes important connections to the picture of human life found in theorists of love such as St. Augustine and Emmanuel Levinas, and shows that when care theory is articulated clearly, it provides resources for thinking through some of the difficult moral issues we face in the contemporary world, issues such as (...) assisted reproduction and the new genetic technologies. (shrink)
It is demonstrated that ‘quantum eraser’ experiments do not erase any information. Nor do they demonstrate ‘temporal nonlocality’ in their ‘delayed choice’ form, beyond standard EPR correlations. It is shown that the erroneous erasure claims arise from assuming that the improper mixed state of the signal photon physically prefers either the ‘which way’ or ‘both ways’ basis, when no such preference is warranted. The latter point is illustrated through comparison of the QE spatial state space with the spin-1/2 space of (...) particles in the EPR-spin experiment. (shrink)
As a forum for philosophical discourse of religious studies as related to the world's women, the "Annual Review of Women in World Religions" fails. The first three issues display an unfortunately limited approach. Certain articles are promising, but editorial intellectual constraints appear to have circumscribed the philosophical latitude provided to contributors. In spite of the potential of the journal's topic area, it is doubtful it will soon succeed in emerging as a publication with adequate inclusionary liberality and ideal discursive freedom.
"The stories are powerful, sometimes heart-rending, sometimes lyrical, but always deeply personal. And there is some very good philosophizing as part of the bargain." —Merold Westphal How can the seemingly separate lives of philosopher, feminist, and follower of a religious tradition come together in one person’s life? How does religious commitment affect philosophy or feminism? How does feminism play out in religious or philosophical commitment? Wrestling with answers to these questions, women who balance philosophy, feminism, and faith write about their (...) lives. The voices gathered here from several different traditions—Catholic, Protestant, Quaker, Jewish, and Muslim—represent diverse ethnicities, races, and ages. The challenging and poignant reflections in Philosophy, Feminism, and Faith show how critical thought can successfully mesh with religious faith and social responsibility. (shrink)
This article explores the characteristics of narratives told by women and men about the birth of children. The comparison focuses on the way speakers use evaluation devices to structure their experiences and to negotiate a relationship with their audience. Findings indicate that, while there are subtle contrasts between the narratives that suggest that male speakers emphasize informative meaning and women provoke an affectual response related to the disclosure of internalized expectations, there are significant macro-level similarities with both women and men (...) making use of anecodotal structures. It is argued that understanding these similarities and dissimilarities in terms of gender difference alone is overly simplistic and that gender should be understood as interacting in complex ways with a range of further potential variables connected with context. (shrink)
Christians, health care, and basic moral reasoning -- When life ends -- Chronic illness, suffering, and Christian responses -- Organ donation and heroic medicine -- Scarce resources and Christian compassion -- Abortion -- Assisted reproduction and embryo selection -- Embryo research and cloning -- What happened to the neighbors? global health care -- The global challenge of HIV/AIDS -- Concluding thoughts.
Biological scientists, like scientists in other disciplines, are uncertain about whether or how to use their knowledge and time to provide society with insight and guidance in handling the effects of inventions and discoveries. This article addresses this issue. It presents a typography of structures in which scientists may contribute to social understanding and decisions. It describes the different ways in which these contributions can be made. Finally it develops the ethical arguments that justify the view that biological scientists have (...) social responsibilities. (shrink)
Increasingly through the 1990s, tobacco control advocates questioned the practice of public institutions investing in tobacco company stocks. The questioning was framed in at least three ways. First, is it ethical to fund public expenditures with profits from a product that causes addiction and disease? Second, is it sound social policy to derive public income from a product that increases healthcare costs and reduces worker productivity? Finally, is it sound fiscal policy to invest in an historically profitable industry facing multiplying (...) legal and regulatory challenges? While the tobacco industry preferred to restrict discussion to the fiscal question, and offered an affirmative answer, its position was weakened by depressed stock prices brought on by actions of the industry as much as by tobacco control activism. As part of a campaign to restore its credibility as an investment vehicle with public fund managers, Philip Morris (PM) commissioned a report from the influential investment managers/advisors Wilshire Associates. However, Wilshire had only recently conducted such a study for the Washington State Investment Board (WSIB), assuring the board that the value tobacco stocks added to an investment portfolio – if any – was too small to be measured. Nonetheless, within a year, Wilshire produced a report for PM which appeared to laud the investment value of tobacco and to dismiss tobacco-excluded investment alternatives. This paper examines how Wilshire produced apparently diametrically opposed reports for clients with different interests. It reveals a pattern of potential conflicts of interest among tobacco companies, financial analysis firms, investment authorities, and institutional fund managers. It demonstrates substantial violations of two generally accepted ethical principles of business consulting: veracity and transparency. (shrink)