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Quantum Mechanics in a Time-Asymmetric Universe: On the Nature of the Initial Quantum State

Chen, Eddy Keming (2018) Quantum Mechanics in a Time-Asymmetric Universe: On the Nature of the Initial Quantum State. [Preprint]

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Abstract

In a quantum universe with a strong arrow of time, we postulate a low-entropy boundary condition (the Past Hypothesis) to account for the temporal asymmetry. In this paper, I show that the Past Hypothesis also contains enough information to simplify the quantum ontology and define a natural initial condition.

First, I introduce Density Matrix Realism, the thesis that the quantum state of the universe is objective and impure. This stands in sharp contrast to Wave Function Realism, the thesis that the quantum state of the universe is objective and pure. Second, I suggest that the Past Hypothesis is sufficient to determine a natural density matrix, which is simple and unique. This is achieved by what I call the Initial Projection Hypothesis: the initial density matrix of the universe is the (normalized) projection onto the Past Hypothesis subspace (in the Hilbert space). Third, because the initial quantum state is unique and simple, we have a strong case for the Nomological Thesis: the initial quantum state of the universe is on a par with laws of nature.

This new package of ideas has several interesting implications, including on the harmony between statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics, theoretical unity of the universe and the subsystems, and the alleged conflict between Humean supervenience and quantum entanglement.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Chen, Eddy Kemingeddy.chen@rutgers.edu
Keywords: time’s arrow, Past Hypothesis, Statistical Postulate, reduction, typicality, foundations of probability, quantum statistical mechanics, wave function realism, quantum ontology, density matrix, Weyl Curvature Hypothesis, Humean Supervenience
Subjects: General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Depositing User: Keming Chen
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2018 15:27
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2018 15:27
Item ID: 15077
Subjects: General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Date: 30 September 2018
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15077

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