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Time's Arrow & Archimedes' Point



Contents

1.

The View from Nowhen

3

Outline of the book  5    Remarks on style  11    The stock philosophical debates about time  12    The arrows of time  16    The puzzle of origins  17


2.

"More Apt to Be Lost than Got": The Lessons of the Second Law

22

Irreversibility discovered: Newton to Boltzmann  23    The reversibility objection I  27    Entropy as probability  29    The reversibility objection II  31    Boltzmann's symmetric view  32    Do we need to explain why entropy increases?  37    The role of the H-theorem  40    Does chaos theory make a difference?  43    Branch systems  44    Could entropy eventually decrease?  46    Summary  47


3.

New Light on the Arrow of Radiation

49

The circular wave argument  54    Radiation and banking  58    Radiation and nonfrictionless banking  60    What would time-symmetric radiation look like?  61    The Wheeler-Feynman theory in brief  65    Why doesn't the argument work in reverse?  67    Are the components distinct?  69    The new interpretation  70    Why the apparent asymmetry?  71    No need for a future absorber  73    Related issues in physics  73    Summary  76


4.

Arrows and Errors in Contemporary Cosmology

78

The need for smoothness  79    Gold universes and the basic dilemma  81    Smoothness: how surprising is it?  82    The appeal to inflation  85    Hawking and the big crunch  86    The basic dilemma and some ways to avoid it  93    What's wrong with a Gold universe?  99    A telescope to look into the future?  105    Conclusion  111


5.

Innocence and Symmetry in Microphysics

114

Conflicting intuitions in contemporary physics  116    Preinteractive "innocence": the intuitive asymmetry  118    Two kinds of innocence in physics  120    Is µInnocence observable?  121    Symmetry or innocence?  123    µInnocence and quantum mechanics  124    µInnocence and backward causation  127    The next step  129


6.

In Search of the Third Arrow

132

Causal asymmetry: the nature of the problem  136    A third arrow?  138    The fork asymmetry  138    Too few forks  140    Two ways to misuse a fork  142    A fourth arrow?  146    The symmetry of micro-forks  147    Two extreme proposals  152    The perspectival view  155    Escaping a circle, projecting an arrow  159    Summary  161


7.

Convention Objectified and the Past Unlocked

162

Asymmetry conventionalized  163    Convention objectified  166    The asymmetry of agency  168    The role of counterfactuals  169    Could the past depend on the future?  170    Escaping the paradoxes of backward causation  171    The past unlocked  174    Advanced action: its objective core  177    Counterfactuals: what should we fix?  178    Advanced action and µInnocence  179    Is µInnocence merely conventional?  181    Why can't a photon be more like a billiard ball?  183    Symmetry and advanced action I  185    Symmetry and advanced action II  187    Taxonomy and T-symmetry  189    Backward causation: not forward causation backwards  190    Inverted forks and distant effects  191    Summary: saving the baby  192


8.

Einstein's Issue: The Puzzle of Contemporary Quantum Theory

195

The quantum view: basic elements  197    A TOM SPLIT IN THOUGHT EXPERIMENT!  198    The EPR argument  201    EPR and special relativity: the cost of nonlocality  204    The temporal asymmetry objection  206    The consequences of superposition  209    Bell's Theorem  212    EPR for triplets: the GHZ argument  217    What if there is no collapse?  219    Many minds?  222    The decoherence approach  225    Summary: Einstein's live issue  228


9.

The Case for Advanced Action

231

Outline of the chapter  233    Locality, independence, and the pro-liberty Bell  235    Locality saved in the past  236    Locality saved in the future  238    Was Bell told?  241    The benefits of backward forks  242    Advanced action in quantum mechanics  246    Einstein reissued?  248    Advanced action and the GHZ argument  251    Advanced action and superposition  252    The atemporal view  257


Overview

261

Main conclusions of the book  262    Directions for further work  266    Why it matters  266


Notes

269


Bibliography

285


Index

293



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Last updated 1 September, 1996.