Concepts of physical directionality of time Part 2 The interpretation of the quantum mechanical time reversal operator.


This is Part 2 of a four part paper, intended as an introduction to the key concepts and issues of time directionality for physicists and philosophers. It redresses some fundamental confusions in the subject. These need to be corrected in introductory courses for physics and philosophy of physics students. Here we analyze the quantum mechanical time reversal operator and the reversal of the deterministic Schrodinger equation. It is argued that quantum mechanics is anti-symmetric w.r.t. time reversal in its deterministic laws. This contradicts the orthodox analysis, found throughout the conventional literature on physical time, which claims that quantum mechanics is time symmetric (reversible), and that we must adopt the anti-unitary operator (T*) instead of the unitary time reversal operator (T) for time reversal in quantum mechanics. This is widely claimed as settled scientific fact, and large metaphysical conclusions about the symmetry of time are drawn from it. But it is an error.

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