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‘Einselection’ of Pointer Observables: The New H-Theorem?

Kastner, Ruth (2014) ‘Einselection’ of Pointer Observables: The New H-Theorem? [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    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’ (environmentally induced superselection) 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.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Additional Information: To appear in Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
    Keywords: Decoherence, Einselection, Everettian Interpretation, Environmentally Induced Superselection
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
    Depositing User: Ruth E. Kastner
    Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2014 10:26
    Last Modified: 18 Jun 2014 10:26
    Item ID: 10757
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/10757

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