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Symmetry 2010, 2(1), 272-283;

Time-Symmetric Boundary Conditions and Quantum Foundations

Department of Physics and Astronomy, San Jos´e State University, San Jos´e, CA 95192-0106, USA
Received: 1 January 2010 / Accepted: 4 March 2010 / Published: 8 March 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers: Symmetry Concepts and Applications)
Full-Text   |   PDF [110 KB, uploaded 8 March 2010]


Despite the widely-held premise that initial boundary conditions (BCs) corresponding to measurements/interactions can fully specify a physical subsystem, a literal reading of Hamilton’s principle would imply that both initial and final BCs are required (or more generally, a BC on a closed hypersurface in spacetime). Such a time-symmetric perspective of BCs, as applied to classical fields, leads to interesting parallels with quantum theory. This paper will map out some of the consequences of this counter-intuitive premise, as applied to covariant classical fields. The most notable result is the contextuality of fields constrained in this manner, naturally bypassing the usual arguments against so-called “realistic” interpretations of quantum phenomena. View Full-Text
Keywords: time symmetry; Hamilton’s principle; classical field theory; quantum foundations time symmetry; Hamilton’s principle; classical field theory; quantum foundations
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Wharton, K. Time-Symmetric Boundary Conditions and Quantum Foundations. Symmetry 2010, 2, 272-283.

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