Daniel Peterson
South Georgia State College
In this paper I draw the distinction between intuitive and theory-relative accounts of the time reversal symmetry and identify problems with each. I then propose an alternative to these two types of accounts that steers a middle course between them and minimizes each account’s problems. This new account of time reversal requires that, when dealing with sets of physical theories that satisfy certain constraints, we determine all of the discrete symmetries of the physical laws we are interested in and look for involutions that leave spatial coordinates unaffected and that act consistently across our physical laws. This new account of time reversal has the interesting feature that it makes the nature of the time reversal symmetry an empirical feature of the world without requiring us to assume that any particular physical theory is time reversal invariant from the start. Finally, I provide an analysis of several toy cases that reveals differences between my new account of time reversal and its competitors.
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Reprint years 2015
DOI 10.1016/j.shpsb.2015.01.001
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References found in this work BETA

What Makes Time Special?Craig Callender - 2017 - Oxford University Press.
What Time Reversal Invariance is and Why It Matters.John Earman - 2002 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 16 (3):245 – 264.

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Citations of this work BETA

Three Myths About Time Reversal in Quantum Theory.Bryan W. Roberts - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (2):315-334.
Time Reversal.Bryan W. Roberts - 2021 - In Eleanor Knox & Alistair Wilson (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Physics. Routledge.
Three Facets of Time-Reversal Symmetry.Cristian Lopez - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (2):1-19.

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