Schulman (Entropy 7(4):221–233, 2005) has argued that Boltzmann’s intuition, that the psychological arrow of time is necessarily aligned with the thermodynamic arrow, is correct. Schulman gives an explicit physical mechanism for this connection, based on the brain being representable as a computer, together with certain thermodynamic properties of computational processes. Hawking (Physical Origins of Time Asymmetry, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1994) presents similar, if briefer, arguments. The purpose of this paper is to critically examine the support for the link between (...) thermodynamics and an arrow of time for computers. The principal arguments put forward by Schulman and Hawking will be shown to fail. It will be shown that any computational process that can take place in an entropy increasing universe, can equally take place in an entropy decreasing universe. This conclusion does not automatically imply a psychological arrow can run counter to the thermodynamic arrow. Some alternative possible explanations for the alignment of the two arrows will be briefly discussed. (shrink)
The celebrated Dreimännerarbeit by Born, Heisenberg and Jordan contains a matrix-mechanical derivation by Jordan of Planck’s formula for blackbody fluctuations. Jordan appears to have considered this to be one of his finest contributions to quantum theory, but the status of his derivation is puzzling. In our Dreimenschenarbeit, we show how to understand what Jordan was doing in the double context of a Boltzmannian approach to statistical mechanics and of the early ‘statistical interpretation’ of matrix mechanics.
Dynamical collapse models embody the idea of a physical collapse of the wave function in a mathematically well-defined way. They involve modifications to the standard rules of quantum theory in order to describe collapse as a physical process. This appears to introduce a time reversal asymmetry into the dynamics since the state at any given time depends on collapses in the past but not in the future. Here we challenge this conclusion by demonstrating that, subject to specified model constraints, collapse (...) models can be given a structurally time symmetric formulation in which the collapse events are the primitive objects of the theory. Three different examples of time asymmetries associated with collapse models are then examined and in each case it is shown that the same dynamical rule determining the collapse events works in both the forward and backward in time directions. Any physically observed time asymmetries that arise in such models are due to the asymmetric imposition of initial or final time boundary conditions, rather than from an inherent asymmetry in the dynamical law. This is the standard explanation of time asymmetric behaviour resulting from time symmetric laws. (shrink)
If the density matrix is treated as an objective description of individual systems, it may become possible to attribute the same objective significance to statistical mechanical properties, such as entropy or temperature, as to properties such as mass or energy. It is shown that the de Broglie--Bohm interpretation of quantum theory can be consistently applied to density matrices as a description of individual systems. The resultant trajectories are examined for the case of the delayed choice interferometer, for which Bell [Int. (...) J. Quantum chem. 155--159, (1980)] appears to suggest that such an interpretation is not possible. Bell’s argument is shown to be based upon a different understanding of the density matrix to that proposed here. (shrink)
This volume is a collection of essays by various contributors in honor of the late Laurence Berns, Richard Hammond Elliot Tutor Emeritus at St. John's College, Annapolis. The essays address the literary, political, theological, and philosophical themes of his life's work as a scholar, teacher, and constant companion of the "great books.".
In this article, we propose the Fair Priority Model for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, and emphasize three fundamental values we believe should be considered when distributing a COVID-19 vaccine among countries: Benefiting people and limiting harm, prioritizing the disadvantaged, and equal moral concern for all individuals. The Priority Model addresses these values by focusing on mitigating three types of harms caused by COVID-19: death and permanent organ damage, indirect health consequences, such as health care system strain and stress, as well as (...) economic destruction. It proposes proceeding in three phases: the first addresses premature death, the second long-term health issues and economic harms, and the third aims to contain viral transmission fully and restore pre-pandemic activity. -/- To those who may deem an ethical framework irrelevant because of the belief that many countries will pursue "vaccine nationalism," we argue such a framework still has broad relevance. Reasonable national partiality would permit countries to focus on vaccine distribution within their borders up until the rate of transmission is below 1, at which point there would not be sufficient vaccine-preventable harm to justify retaining a vaccine. When a government reaches the limit of national partiality, it should release vaccines for other countries. -/- We also argue against two other recent proposals. Distributing a vaccine proportional to a country's population mistakenly assumes that equality requires treating differently situated countries identically. Prioritizing countries according to the number of front-line health care workers, the proportion of the population over 65, and the number of people with comorbidities within each country may exacerbate disadvantage and end up giving the vaccine in large part to wealthy nations. (shrink)
This paper presents an axiomatic characterization of the Owen set of transportation games. In the characterization we use six properties including consistency (CONS2) and splitting and merging (SM) which are firstly proposed and defined for this setup in the present paper.
The collection and disposal of rubbish and waste and the maintenance of a decent standard of hygiene was as much a problem for ancient city authorities as for modern town councils. The responsibility for the removal of waste would often be dependent upon the nature of the rubbish and the facilities which city authorities offered. Thus early in the fourth century B.C. the agoranomic law from Piraeus prohibited individuals from piling earth and other waste on the streets and compelled the (...) offender to remove it. The astynomic law from Pergamon, which probably dates originally to the Hellenistic period, similarly forbade the dumping or piling up of earth or the mixing of mortar on the streets of the city. As one of Demosthenes' speeches indicates, the effect of dumping rubbish indiscriminately was to raise the level of the road surface, which consequently restricted access and endangered adjacent property. Excavation of a triangular hieron to the south west of the agora at Athens further illustrates the results of dumping. Here it was found that, between the construction of the hieron in the late fifth century B.C. and the beginning of the fourth century B.C, the road surface on its northern side rose more than half a metre and covered the lower part of the wall of the hieron and its boundary marker. The accumulated fill included a deep layer of marble chips, which had been dumped in the area by marble workers. The laws from Piraeus and Pergamon were thus designed to keep streets passable, protect adjacent buildings, and safeguard pedestrians. (shrink)
We define our conscious experience by constructing narratives about ourselves and the people with whom we interact. Narrative pervades our lives--conscious experience is not merely linked to the number and variety of personal stories we construct with each other within a cultural frame, but is subsumed by them. The claim, however, that narrative constructions are essential to conscious experience is not useful or informative unless we can also begin to provide a distinct, organized, and empirically consistent explanation for narrative in (...) relation to consciousness. Understanding the role of narrative in determining individual and collective consciousness has been elusive from within traditional academic frameworks. This volume argues that addressing so broad and complex a problem requires an examination from outside our insular disciplinary framework. Such an open examination would be informed by the inquiries and approaches of multiple disciplines. Recognition of the different approaches to examining personal stories will allow for the coordination of how narrative seems, with what mental labor it does, and how it is realized. Only by overcoming the boundaries erected by multiple theoretical and discursive traditions can we begin to comprehend the nature and function of narrative in consciousness. Narrative and Consciousness brings together essays by exceptional scholars and scientists in the disciplines of literary theory, psychology, and neuroscience to examine how stories are constructed, how stories structure lived experience, and how stories are rooted in material reality. The specific topics addressed include narrative in the development of conscious awareness; autobiographical narrative, fiction and the construction of self; trauma and narrative disruptions; narrative, memory and identity; and the physiological and neural substrate of narrative. It is the editors' hope that the multidisciplinary nature of this collection will challenge the reader to move beyond disciplinary confines and toward a coherent interdisciplinary dialogue. (shrink)
Background We aimed to examine the ethical concerns Singaporeans have about sharing health-data for precision medicine and identify suggestions for governance strategies. Just as Asian genomes are under-represented in PM, the views of Asian populations about the risks and benefits of data sharing are under-represented in prior attitudinal research. Methods We conducted seven focus groups with 62 participants in Singapore from May to July 2019. They were conducted in three languages and analysed with qualitative content and thematic analysis. Results Four (...) key themes emerged: nuanced understandings of data security and data sensitivity; trade-offs between data protection and research benefits; trust in the public and private sectors; and governance and control options. Participants were aware of the inherent risks associated with data sharing for research. Participants expressed conditional support for data sharing, including genomic sequence data and information contained within electronic medical records. This support included sharing data with researchers from universities and healthcare institutions, both in Singapore and overseas. Support was conditional on the perceived social value of the research and appropriate de-identification and data security processes. Participants suggested that a data sharing oversight body would help strengthen public trust and comfort in data research for PM in Singapore. Conclusion Maintenance of public trust in data security systems and governance regimes can enhance participation in PM and data sharing for research. Contrary to themes in much prior research, participants demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of the inherent risks of data sharing, analysed trade-offs between risks and potential benefits of PM, and often adopted an international perspective. (shrink)