Quantum Decoherence and the Approach to Equilibrium

Meir Hemmo*, Orly Shenker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

We discuss a recent proposal by Albert (1994a; 1994b; 2000, ch. 7) to recover thermodynamics on a purely dynamical basis, using the quantum theory of the collapse of the wave function by Ghirardi, Rimini, and Weber (1986). We propose an alternative way to explain thermodynamics within no-collapse interpretations of quantum mechanics. Our approach relies on the standard quantum mechanical models of environmental decoherence of open systems (e.g., Joos and Zeh 1985; Zurek and Paz 1994). This paper presents the two approaches and discusses their advantages. The problems faced by both approaches will be discussed in a sequel (Hemmo and Shenker 2003).

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)330-358
Number of pages29
JournalPhilosophy of Science
Volume70
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2003
Externally publishedYes

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