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The Nature of the Controversy Over Time-Symmetric Quantum Counterfactuals

Kastner, Ruth (2002) The Nature of the Controversy Over Time-Symmetric Quantum Counterfactuals. [Preprint]


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It is proposed that the recent controversy over ``time-symmetric quantum counterfactuals'' (TSQCs), based on the Aharonov-Bergmann-Lebowitz Rule (ABL 1964) for measurements of pre- and post-selected systems, can be clarified by taking TSQCs to be counterfactuals with a specific type of compound antecedent. In that case, inconsistency proofs such as that of Sharp and Shanks (1993) are not applicable, and the main issue becomes not whether such statements are true, but whether they are nontrivial. The latter question is addressed and answered in the negative. Thus it is concluded that TSQCs, understood as counterfactuals with a compound antecedent, are true but only trivially so, and provide no new contingent information about specific quantum systems (except in special cases already identified in literature).

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Item Type: Preprint
Kastner, Ruth
Keywords: time symmetry, counterfactuals, quantum theory
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Ruth E. Kastner
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2002
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:11
Item ID: 868

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