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Times Two: The Tenses of Linear and Collapse Dynamics in Relational Quantum Mechanics

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  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Linguistics
  • Mathematics
  • Philosophy
  • Physics


The nature and topology of time remains an open question in philosophy, both tensed and tenseless concepts of time appear to have merit. A concept of time including both kinds of time evolution of physical systems in quantum mechanics subsumes the properties of both notions. The linear dynamics defines the universe probabilistically throughout space-time, and can be seen as the definition of a block universe. The collapse dynamics is the time evolution of the linear dynamics, and is thus of different logical type to the linear dynamics. These two different kinds of time evolution are respectively tensed and tenseless. Ascribing tensed semantics to the collapse dynamics is problematic in the light of special relativity, but this difficulty does not apply to a relational quantum mechanics. In this context, while the linear dynamics is the time evolution of the universe objectively, the collapse dynamics is the time evolution of the universe subjectively, applying solely in the functional frame of reference of the observer.

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