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Time-Symmetric Boundary Conditions and Quantum Foundations

Author(s): Ken Wharton

Journal: Symmetry
ISSN 2073-8994

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 272;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: time symmetry | Hamilton’s principle | classical field theory | quantum foundations

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.
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