A Physical Basis for the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Quantum Nonunitarity

Publication Year:
2016
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Repository URL:
http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/12718
Author(s):
Kastner, Ruth
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preprint description
It is argued that if the non-unitary measurement transition, as codified by Von Neumann, is a real physical process, then the ‘probability assumption’ needed to derive the Second Law of Thermodynamics naturally enters at that point. The existence of a real, indeterministic physical process underlying the measurement transition would therefore provide an ontological basis for Boltzmann’s Stosszahlansatz and thereby explain the unidirectional increase of entropy against a backdrop of otherwise time-reversible laws. It is noted that the Transactional Interpretation (TI) of quantum mechanics provides such a physical account of the non-unitary measurement transition, and TI is brought to bear in finding a physically complete, non-ad hoc grounding for the Second Law.