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Arrow(s) of Time without a Past Hypothesis

Lazarovici, Dustin and Reichert, Paula (2019) Arrow(s) of Time without a Past Hypothesis. [Preprint]

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Abstract

The paper discusses recent proposals by Carroll and Chen, as well as Barbour, Koslowski, and Mercati to explain the (thermodynamic) arrow of time without a Past Hypothesis, i.e. the assumption of a special (low-entropy) initial state of the universe. After discussing the role of the Past Hypothesis and the controversy about its status, we explain why Carroll's model - which establishes an arrow of time as typical - can ground sensible predictions and retrodictions without assuming something akin to a Past Hypothesis. We then propose a definition of a Boltzmann entropy for a classical N-particle system with gravity, suggesting that a Newtonian gravitating universe might provide a relevant example of Carroll's entropy model. This invites comparison with the work of Barbour, Koslowski, and Mercati that identifies typical arrows of time in a relational formulation of classical gravity on shape space. We clarify the difference between this gravitational arrow in terms of shape complexity and the entropic arrow in absolute spacetime, and work out the key advantages of the relationalist theory. We end by pointing out why the entropy concept relies on absolute scales and is thus not relational.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Lazarovici, Dustindustin.lazarovici@unil.ch0000-0002-1484-1172
Reichert, Paulareichert@math.lmu.de
Additional Information: To appear in: Allor, V. (Ed.). Statistical Mechanics and Scientific Explanation: Determinism, Indeterminism and Laws of Nature
Keywords: Past Hypothesis, Arrow of Time, Entropy, Statistical Mechanics, Gravity
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Depositing User: Dr. Dustin Lazarovici
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2019 20:37
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2019 20:37
Item ID: 15580
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Date: January 2019
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15580

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