After Physics by David Z. Albert

By David Z. Albert

Right here the thinker and physicist David Z Albert argues, between different issues, that the adaptation among previous and destiny will be understood as a mechanical phenomenon of nature and that quantum mechanics makes it very unlikely to provide the whole lot of what should be stated concerning the international as a story of “befores” and “afters.”

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The only things that turn out to be chancy, on Bohm’s theory, are the initial positions of the particles. The 28 After Physics only sort of fundamental chance there is in Bohm’s theory is (more particularly) the chance that the initial spatial configuration of all of the particles in the world was such-and-such given that the initial quantummechanical wave function of those particles was so-and-so. And it happens—on Bohm’s theory—that those parts of the fundamental physical laws that govern the evolution of the wave function in time, and those parts of the fundamental physical laws that stipulate precisely how the evolving wave function drags the particles around, are completely deterministic.

Given what you have just been willing to grant, at least for the sake of our discussion here, every robust lawlike physical regularity of the world— the ones about the trajectories of rocks traveling through an infinite empty space, and the ones about the success or failure of formal dinner parties, and the ones about the asymmetry of our epistemic access to the past and the future, and all of the other ones as well—must somehow be buried in the Mentaculus. But those regularities—as you rightly point out—are likely to be buried at an enormous variety of different depths, and under an enormous variety of different layers, and in such a way that the process of digging them out is going to be a vastly larger and more complicated and more impractical undertaking in some cases than in others.

And on the GRW theory—as opposed to any theory whatsoever without a collapse of the wave function in it— quantum-mechanical chanciness turns out to be a chanciness in the time Physics and Chance 29 evolution of the universal wave function itself. And on the GRW theory— as opposed to theories of the collapse like the one due to Penrose—the intrusion of quantum-mechanical chanciness into the evolution of the wave function has no trigger; the probability of a collapse per unit time (that is) is fixed, once and for all, by a fundamental constant of nature; the probability of a collapse over the course any particular time interval (to put it one more way) has nothing whatsoever to do with the physical situation of the world over the course of that interval.

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