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Probability, Arrow of Time and Decoherence

Bacciagaluppi, Guido (2006) Probability, Arrow of Time and Decoherence. [Preprint]


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This paper relates both to the metaphysics of probability and to the physics of time asymmetry. Using the formalism of decoherent histories, it investigates whether intuitions about intrinsic time directedness that are often associated with probability can be justified in the context of no-collapse approaches to quantum mechanics. The standard (two-vector) approach to time symmetry in the decoherent histories literature is criticised, and an alternative approach is proposed, based on two decoherence conditions ('forwards' and 'backwards') within the one-vector formalism. In turn, considerations of forwards and backwards decoherence and of decoherence and recoherence suggest that a time-directed interpretation of probabilities, if adopted, should be both contingent and perspectival.

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Item Type: Preprint
Bacciagaluppi, Guido
Additional Information: Forthcoming in Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Keywords: time asymmetry of probabilities, decoherent histories
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Guido Bacciagaluppi
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2007
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:14
Item ID: 3157

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