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New Difficulties for the Past Hypothesis

Gryb, Sean (2020) New Difficulties for the Past Hypothesis. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Many macroscopic physical processes are known to occur in a time-directed way despite the apparent time-symmetry of the known fundamental laws. A popular explanation is to postulate an unimaginably atypical state for the early universe --- a `Past Hypothesis' (PH) --- that seeds the time-asymmetry from which all others follow. I will argue that such a PH faces serious new difficulties. First I strengthen the grounds for existing criticism by providing a systematic analytic framework for assessing the status of the PH. I outline three broad categories of criticism that put into question a list of essential requirements of the proposal. The resulting analysis paints a grim picture for the prospects of providing an adequate formulation for an explicit PH. I then provide a new argument that substantively extends this criticism by showing that any time-independent measure on the space of models of the universe must necessarily break one of its gauge symmetries. The PH then faces a new dilemma: reject a gauge symmetry of the universe and introduce a distinction without difference or reject the time-independence of the measure and lose explanatory power.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Gryb, Seans.gryb@hef.ru.nl0000-0002-0439-3548
Additional Information: Forthcoming in Philosophy of Science.
Keywords: arrow of time, Past Hypothesis, cosmology, symmetry
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Dr Sean Gryb
Date Deposited: 29 May 2020 03:35
Last Modified: 29 May 2020 03:35
Item ID: 17253
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: 28 May 2020
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17253

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