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Time, symmetry and structure: a study in the foundations of quantum theory

Roberts, Bryan W. (2012) Time, symmetry and structure: a study in the foundations of quantum theory. Doctoral thesis, University of Pittsburgh.

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Abstract

This dissertation is about the sense in which the laws of quantum theory distinguish between the past and the future. I begin with an account of what it means for quantum theory to make such a distinction, by providing a novel derivation of the meaning of "time reversal." I then show that if Galilei invariant quantum theory does distinguish a preferred direction in time, then this has consequences for the ontology of the theory. In particular, it requires matter to admit "internal" degrees of freedom, in that the position observable generates a maximal abelian algebra. I proceed to show that this is not a purely quantum phenomenon, but can be expressed in classical mechanics as well. I then illustrate three routes for generating quantum systems that distinguish a preferred temporal direction in this way.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Official URL: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/
Additional Information: © 2012 The Author
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
CPNSS
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Q Science > QC Physics
Sets: Departments > Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Research centres and groups > Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS)
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2014 13:24
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2018 12:56
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/56411

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