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Journal Article

Time Symmetry in Microphysics

Huw Price
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 64, Supplement. Proceedings of the 1996 Biennial Meetings of the Philosophy of Science Association. Part II: Symposia Papers (Dec., 1997), pp. S235-S244
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/188406
Page Count: 10
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Time Symmetry in Microphysics
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Abstract

Physics takes for granted that interacting systems without common history are independent, before interaction. This principle is time asymmetric, for no such restriction applies to systems without common future, after interaction. The time asymmetry is normally attributed to boundary conditions. I argue that there are two such independence principles at work in contemporary physics, one of which cannot be attributed to boundary conditions, and therefore conflicts with the assumed T-symmetry of microphysics. I note that this may have interesting ramifications in quantum mechanics.

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