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‘Einselection’ of Pointer Observables: The New H-Theorem?

Kastner, Ruth (2014) ‘Einselection’ of Pointer Observables: The New H-Theorem? [Preprint]

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In attempting to derive irreversible macroscopic thermodynamics from reversible microscopic dynamics, Boltzmann inadvertently smuggled in a premise that assumed the very irreversibility he was trying to prove: ‘molecular chaos.’ The program of ‘Einselection’ (environmentally induced superselection) within Everettian approaches faces a similar ‘Loschmidt’s Paradox’: the universe, according to the Everettian picture, is a closed system obeying only unitary dynamics, and it therefore contains no distinguishable environmental subsystems with the necessary ‘phase randomness’ to effect einselection of a pointer observable. The theoretically unjustified assumption of distinguishable environmental subsystems is the hidden premise that makes the derivation of einselection circular. In effect, it presupposes the ‘emergent’ structures from the beginning. Thus the problem of basis ambiguity remains unsolved in Everettian interpretations.

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Item Type: Preprint
Additional Information: To appear in Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Keywords: Decoherence, Einselection, Everettian Interpretation, Environmentally Induced Superselection
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Ruth E. Kastner
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2014 14:26
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2014 14:26
Item ID: 10757
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 17 June 2014

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