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�Is Time �Handed� in a Quantum World?�

Callender, Craig (2000) �Is Time �Handed� in a Quantum World?�. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    This paper considers the possibility that nonrelativistic quantum mechanics tells us that Nature cares about time reversal. In a classical world we have a fundamentally reversible world that appears irreversible at higher levels, e.g., the thermodynamic level. But in a quantum world we see, if I am correct, a fundamentally irreversible world that appears reversible at higher levels, e.g., the level of classical mechanics. I consider two related symmetries, time reversal invariance and what I call �Wigner reversal invariance.� Violation of the first is interesting, for not only would it fly in the face of the usual story about temporal symmetry, but it also appears to imply (as I�ll explain) that time is �handed�, or as some have misleadingly said in the literature, �anisotropic�. Violation of the second is, as I hope to show, even more interesting. The paper also contains a discussion of two mostly neglected topics: what it means to say time is handed and what warrants such an attribution to time.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: quantum mechanics; time reversal; direction of time
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
    Depositing User: Craig Callender
    Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2002
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:10
    Item ID: 612
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/612

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