‘Einselection’ of Pointer Observables: The New H-Theorem?

Publication Year:
2014
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Repository URL:
http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/10757
Author(s):
Kastner, Ruth
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preprint description
In attempting to derive irreversible macroscopic thermodynamics from reversible microscopic dynamics, Boltzmann inadvertently smuggled in a premise that assumed the very irreversibility he was trying to prove: ‘molecular chaos.’ The program of ‘Einselection’ (environmentally induced superselection) within Everettian approaches faces a similar ‘Loschmidt’s Paradox’: the universe, according to the Everettian picture, is a closed system obeying only unitary dynamics, and it therefore contains no distinguishable environmental subsystems with the necessary ‘phase randomness’ to effect einselection of a pointer observable. The theoretically unjustified assumption of distinguishable environmental subsystems is the hidden premise that makes the derivation of einselection circular. In effect, it presupposes the ‘emergent’ structures from the beginning. Thus the problem of basis ambiguity remains unsolved in Everettian interpretations.