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The Wentaculus: Density Matrix Realism Meets the Arrow of Time

Chen, Eddy Keming (2022) The Wentaculus: Density Matrix Realism Meets the Arrow of Time. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Two of the most difficult problems in the foundations of physics are (1) what gives rise to the arrow of time and (2) what the ontology of quantum mechanics is. They are difficult because the fundamental dynamical laws of physics do not privilege an arrow of time, and the quantum-mechanical wave function describes a high-dimensional reality that is radically different from our ordinary experiences.

In this paper, I characterize and elaborate on the "Wentaculus" theory, a new approach to time’s arrow in a quantum universe that offers a unified solution to both problems. Central to the Wentaculus are (i) Density Matrix Realism, the idea that the quantum state of the universe is objective but can be impure, and (ii) the Initial Projection Hypothesis, a new law of nature that selects a unique initial quantum state. On the Wentaculus, the quantum state of the universe is sufficiently simple to be a law, and the arrow of time can be traced back to an exact boundary condition. It removes the intrinsic vagueness of the Past Hypothesis, eliminates the Statistical Postulate, provides a higher degree of theoretical unity, and contains a natural realization of “strong determinism." I end by responding to four recent objections. In a companion paper, I elaborate on Density Matrix Realism.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Chen, Eddy Kemingeddykemingchen@ucsd.edu0000-0001-5144-0952
Keywords: wave function, density matrix, realism, entropy, Past Hypothesis, nomic vagueness, randomness, boundary condition, laws of nature, Humeanism, non-Humeanism, unification, empirical equivalence, theoretical virtues, simplicity
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Dr. Eddy Keming Chen
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2022 14:44
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2022 14:44
Item ID: 21372
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: 7 November 2022
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/21372

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