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From Time Asymmetry to Quantum Entanglement: The Humean Unification

Chen, Eddy Keming (2020) From Time Asymmetry to Quantum Entanglement: The Humean Unification. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Two of the most difficult problems in the philosophical foundations of physics are (1) what gives rise to the arrow of time and (2) what the ontology of quantum mechanics is. The first problem is puzzling since the fundamental dynamical laws of physics do not include an arrow of time. The second problem is puzzling since the quantum-mechanical wave function describes a non-separable reality that is remarkably different from the objects in our ordinary experiences.

In this paper, we propose a unified ``Humean'' solution to the two problems. Humeanism allows us to incorporate the Past Hypothesis and the Statistical Postulate into the best system, which we then use to simplify the quantum state of the universe. This allows us to confer the nomological status to the quantum state in a way that adds no significant complexity to the best system and solves the ``supervenient-kind problem'' facing the original version of the Past Hypothesis. We call this strategy the "Humean unification." It brings together the origins of time asymmetry and quantum entanglement. On this theory, what gives rise to the arrow of time is also responsible for the non-separable phenomena in nature. The result is a more unified theory, with a separable mosaic, a best system that is simple and non-vague, less tension between quantum mechanics and special relativity, and more theoretical and dynamical unity. We then compare our proposals to those in the literature that focus on only one of the two problems. Our analysis further suggests that, in order to obtain a deeper understanding about the problems in philosophy of science, it can be tremendously illuminating to explore the full resources of Humeanism, even if one is not a Humean.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Chen, Eddy Kemingeddykemingchen@ucsd.edu0000-0001-5144-0952
Keywords: arrows of time, quantum entanglement, wave function, density matrix, Humean supervenience, laws of nature, Best System Account, the Past Hypothesis, Statistical Postulate, the Mentaculus, objective probabilities, separability, narratability, vagueness, Lorentz invariance
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Depositing User: Dr. Eddy Keming Chen
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2020 15:02
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2020 15:02
Item ID: 17296
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Date: June 2020
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17296

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