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Time-symmetry without retrocausality: how the quantum can withhold the solace

Price, Huw (2010) Time-symmetry without retrocausality: how the quantum can withhold the solace. [Preprint]

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    It has been suggested that some of the puzzles of QM are resolved if we allow that there is retrocausality in the quantum world. In particular, it has been claimed that this approach offers a path to a Lorentz-invariant explanation of Bell correlations, and other manifestations of quantum "nonlocality", without action-at-a-distance. Some writers have suggested that this proposal can be supported by an appeal to time-symmetry, claiming that if QM were made "more time-symmetric", retrocausality would be a natural consequence. Critics object that there is complete time-symmetry in classical physics, and yet no apparent retrocausality. Why should QM be any different? In this note I call attention to a respect in which QM is different, under some assumptions about quantum ontology. Under these assumptions, the option of time-symmetry without retrocausality is not available in QM, for reasons intimately connected with the fundamental differences between classical and quantum physics (especially the role of discreteness in the latter).

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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: Quantum mechanics, retrocausality, time-symmetry
    Subjects: General Issues > Causation
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
    Depositing User: Prof Huw Price
    Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2010
    Last Modified: 05 Nov 2011 09:03
    Item ID: 5133

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