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Essays on the metaphysics of quantum mechanics

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TitleInfo
Title
Essays on the metaphysics of quantum mechanics
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Chen
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Keming
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1990-
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Keming Chen
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Loewer
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Barry Loewer
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Albert
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David
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David Albert
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North
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Jill
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Jill North
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Theodore
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Goldstein
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Sheldon
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Sheldon Goldstein
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Schaffer
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Jonathan
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Jonathan Schaffer
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Maudlin
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Tim
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Tim Maudlin
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Rutgers University
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degree grantor
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School of Graduate Studies
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theses
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2019
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2019-05
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2019
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English
Abstract (type = abstract)
What is the proper metaphysics of quantum mechanics? In this dissertation, I approach the question from three different but related angles. First, I suggest that the quantum state can be understood intrinsically as relations holding among regions in ordinary space-time, from which we can recover the wave function uniquely up to an equivalence class (by representation and uniqueness theorems). The intrinsic account eliminates certain conventional elements (e.g. overall phase) in the representation of the quantum state. It also dispenses with first-order quantification over mathematical objects, which goes some way towards making the quantum world safe for a nominalistic metaphysics suggested in Field (1980, 2016). Second, I argue that the fundamental space of the quantum world is the low-dimensional physical space and not the high-dimensional space isomorphic to the ``configuration space.'' My arguments are based on considerations about dynamics, empirical adequacy, and symmetries of the quantum mechanics. Third, I show that, when we consider quantum mechanics in a time-asymmetric universe (with a large entropy gradient), we obtain new theoretical and conceptual possibilities. In such a model, we can use the low-entropy boundary condition known as the Past Hypothesis (Albert, 2000) to pin down a natural initial quantum state of the universe. However, the universal quantum state is not a pure state but a mixed state, represented by a density matrix that is the normalized projection onto the Past Hypothesis subspace. This particular choice has interesting consequences for Humean supervenience, statistical mechanical probabilities, and theoretical unity.
Subject (authority = LCSH)
Topic
Quantum theory
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Philosophy
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Rutgers University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
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ETD_9608
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1 online resource (xii, 113 pages)
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Ph.D.
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Includes bibliographical references
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School of Graduate Studies Electronic Theses and Dissertations
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rucore10001600001
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doi:10.7282/t3-zgfs-a452
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ETD doctoral
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The author owns the copyright to this work.
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Chen
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Keming
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2019-03-26 10:17:29
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Keming Chen
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Rutgers University. School of Graduate Studies
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Author Agreement License
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I hereby grant to the Rutgers University Libraries and to my school the non-exclusive right to archive, reproduce and distribute my thesis or dissertation, in whole or in part, and/or my abstract, in whole or in part, in and from an electronic format, subject to the release date subsequently stipulated in this submittal form and approved by my school. I represent and stipulate that the thesis or dissertation and its abstract are my original work, that they do not infringe or violate any rights of others, and that I make these grants as the sole owner of the rights to my thesis or dissertation and its abstract. I represent that I have obtained written permissions, when necessary, from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis or dissertation and will supply copies of such upon request by my school. I acknowledge that RU ETD and my school will not distribute my thesis or dissertation or its abstract if, in their reasonable judgment, they believe all such rights have not been secured. I acknowledge that I retain ownership rights to the copyright of my work. I also retain the right to use all or part of this thesis or dissertation in future works, such as articles or books.
Copyright
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Copyright protected
Availability
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Open
Reason
Permission or license
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2019-03-26T14:15:28
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