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Can the world be shown to be indeterministic after all?

Wuthrich, Christian (2010) Can the world be shown to be indeterministic after all? [Preprint]


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This essay considers and evaluates recent results and arguments from classical chaotic systems theory and non-relativistic quantum mechanics that pertain to the question of whether our world is deterministic or indeterministic. While the classical results are inconclusive, quantum mechanics is often assumed to establish indeterminism insofar as the measurement process involves an ineliminable stochastic element, even though the dynamics between two measurements is considered fully deterministic. While this latter claim concerning the Schrödinger evolution must be qualified, the former fully depends on a resolution of the measurement problem. Two alleged proofs that nature is indeterministic, relying, in turn, on Gleason's theorem and Conway and Kochen's recent 'free will theorem', are shown to be wanting qua proofs of indeterminism. We are thus left with the conclusion that the determinism question remains open.

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Item Type: Preprint
Additional Information: To be published in Claus Beisbart and Stephan Hartmann (eds.), Probabilities in Physics, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Keywords: Determinism, indeterminism, classical chaotic systems, Schrödinger dynamics, essentially self-adjoint operators, Bohmian mechanics, Gleason's theorem, contextuality, Conway, Kochen, free will theorem
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Christian Wuthrich
Date Deposited: 28 Dec 2010 15:27
Last Modified: 28 Dec 2010 15:27
Item ID: 8437

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