Questions tagged [determinism]

Use this tag for questions related to the concept of determinism, the idea that all events in the universe can be predicted from some set of initial conditions.

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Angular Momentum Operators generates rotation transformations - Stern-Gerlach device explanation?

In a lecture we were taught how the angular momentum operator $\vec{L}$ acts as the generator of rotations in quantum mechanics, which are defined using the following equation: $R_u(\alpha)=\hat{1}-(i/...
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Can Leggett-Garg inequality be used to falsify realist interpretations of quantum mechanics?

Can Leggett-Garg inequality be used to falsify superdeterminism, Bohmian mechanics and other realist interpretations of quantum mechanics? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leggett_inequality https://en....
Marco Fabbri's user avatar
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5 answers
287 views

Is there experimental evidence for determinism?

In their 2009 Free Will Lectures, John Horton Conway claimed that there is no evidence for determinism. Specifically, in the sixth lecture, around 38 minutes in, Conway says: This is perhaps the most ...
Corbin's user avatar
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Andromeda paradox and quantum mechanics

Roger Penrose introduced the Andromeda Paradox as a thought experiment that delves into the implications of relativity and quantum mechanics on our understanding of simultaneity and reality. The ...
Marco Fabbri's user avatar
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2 answers
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Since the instant of the big bang, has the progression of the universe been entirely determined?

[Note I am asking up to, but not including, consciousness as this bleeds into philosophy and is a much messier question] Assuming that the laws of physics have remained constant across space & ...
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How did Bell know how a system would behave if quantum states were truly determined? [closed]

From what I can understand, Bell proved that a certain particle is expected to behave a certain way if there is a hidden variable that determines its eventual state beforehand. Because this doesn’t ...
thinkingman's user avatar
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If we were to know everything about the universe right after the Big Bang, can we predict me eating toast today? [duplicate]

It is implied, per QM, that the behavior of subatomic particles cannot be precisely predicted. However, these indeterministic effects do have defined probabilities. By the law of large numbers, they ...
thinkingman's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
759 views

How does indeterminism lead to deterministic laws?

Philosophers and many scientists seem to distinguish between the macro and micro world a lot. Things in the micro world seem to be indeterministic, atleast through the standard interpretation of QM. ...
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Continuity with respect to initial conditions

Buridan's Ass is a paradox that I am gradually, very grudgingly, beginning to accept as not-as-silly-as-it-seems. See the wiki article and this paper by Leslie Lamport. Quote: "Buridan’s ...
Erhannis's user avatar
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How do proponents of superdeterminism explain the specific choice of values for the hidden variables that violates the Bell inequality?

I don't have a background in physics, but I have an amateur interest in quantum mechanics, and I recently found out about the notion of superdeterminism. From what I understand, superdeterminism ...
BackusNaur's user avatar
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Why is determinism expressed by the Chapman-Kolmogorov law and not by the mere existence of an evolution operator?

The following excerpt is from pages 60-61 of Abraham's Foundations of Mechanics: The last remark is a bit confusing to me. I would have said that it is the existence of the evolution operator that ...
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Loss of determinism in the uncertainty principle?

I stumbled upon this interview of Teller talking about how Heisenberg and Bohr was suggesting to Einstein the uncertainty principle doesn't disobey causality but merely says the future is always ...
EPIC Tube HD's user avatar
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1 answer
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Reversed time in Norton's dome

"Norton's Dome is a thought experiment that exhibits a non-deterministic system within the bounds of Newtonian mechanics. " A ball rolled to the top can reach it in finite time with zero ...
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Are there any other nondeterministic processes than measurement in quantum theory?

Nondeterministic refers to a system or process that does not have a single predictable outcome. In other words, when a system is nondeterministic, it means that multiple outcomes are possible for a ...
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Can the universe be fully deterministic on a macro scale but not on a micro scale?

Suppose you have a dice. The “probability” of a dice landing on 1 is defined to be 1/6. However, many say that this is a function of ignorance. If we knew everything about the initial conditions, we ...
thinkingman's user avatar
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How is Big Bang as a starting point possible?

I have a man-in-the-street question that was probably "predetermined". If everything around us is co-interacting particles whose source is some infinite small point that started their ...
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Is the universe deterministic, random, or both? [duplicate]

It occurred to me that the limits of possibility to the nature of the universe is it is either deterministic ie we are all at the will of natural laws that determine the outcome of events from the ...
8Mad0Manc8's user avatar
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1 answer
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Reversing physics law in classical mechanics?

Leonard Susskind in one of the video's mentions: Link - It includes the timestamp so you don't have to wind. simply starting some place letting it evolve for a long period of time and then letting it ...
Giorgi Lagidze's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
453 views

Scientific determinism and the Heisenberg's uncertainty principle

I'm reading Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking. In chapter 4, it discusses whether we can predict the future. As many have known that Laplace put forth that if we knew the positions ...
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Is Brownian motion truly random?

We say that Brownian motion is caused by the random collisions of particles. But let's consider an ionized gas; in that case, there's a nonzero net charge on the atom. Doesn't this mean the ...
Razz's user avatar
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Understanding superdeterminism

I was reading about superdeterminism and it was a bit counter-intuitive. The idea of having a hidden variable on the measurement device is very rational. For example, if we emit light to a constrained ...
user123456789's user avatar
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Is a super-deterministic universe local or nonlocal? [closed]

Bell predicted predetermined (nonlocal) choice as the criteria for a super-deterministic universe. ...our belief that we are free to choose to do one experiment rather than another, absolutely ...
Manuel Morales's user avatar
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1 answer
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True Randomness/unpredictability in infinite quantum coin toss sequences?

In Comments on indeterminism and undecidability the abstract reads: "In a recent paper 1, it has been claimed that the outcomes of a quantum coin toss which is idealized as an infinite binary ...
Willpergg's user avatar
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1 answer
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Do random events really exist? [closed]

To highly clarify my question, let me define what I mean by a random event: "the event e is random, if and only if by having all the data about an event e, we cannot predict the consequences of ...
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If we copy-paste the universe, would it follow the same trajectory? [closed]

If we would copy-paste the universe in a single instant, would they follow the same trajectory? If yes. would this mean that the trajectory of our universe (and our self) is set in stone? If no. What ...
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Could number-theoretic "statistical independence" results (e.g. Chowla's conjecture) be used to disprove superdeterminism?

I will admit I only have the most basic understanding of superdeterminism, from this PBSspacetime video, in particular at this link https://youtu.be/JnKzt6Xq-w4?t=584 (I have provided the relevant ...
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4 answers
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Why can't we run the laws of physics backwards and forwards in time infinitely?

So assuming we know all the laws of physics in differential equation form, and I have an estimate for the current large scale state of the universe (whatever standard assumptions/data cosmologists use ...
Ameet Sharma's user avatar
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Toy example of superdeterminism using Rule 30

From what I understand of Bell's Theorem, it requires giving up local realism or embracing superdeterminism. I still haven't been able to understand why superdeterminism gets such a bad rap, so I've ...
Trev's user avatar
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Per Newtonian mechanics, a coin toss exhibits deterministic chaos theory, but could relativity cause a probabilistic outcome of a coin toss?

It took me a long time to accept that a coin toss boils down to deterministic chaos theory. For example, the typical near 50/50 odds for outcomes of heads or tails results from complex initial ...
James Goetz's user avatar
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Chaos theory: What exactly drives the future outcome?

Chaos theory states that we can't predict future because we can't measure initial conditions of a system to infinite precision. I get that. That alone doesn't mean that the future is not determined, ...
tetrametra's user avatar
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101 views

Can we know the future with quantum mechanics?

I have created a test scenario. Please see the image below. Two men working on this test, Erdal and Kervan. Erdal is in the world, but kervan is 10 light seconds far from the world. The light source ...
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Is determinism broken in special relativity?

Under classical mechanics, in an isolated system everything is deterministic given some initial conditions. Otherwise, we would have to consider some probabilities of interactions with the outside on ...
zetzar's user avatar
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1 answer
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Is this a correct example of a superdeterminism?

I'm trying to wrap my head around the recent 2022 nobel price and learned about the superdeterminism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superdeterminism) loop hole in the now famous Aspect experiment (...
Stefan's user avatar
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3 answers
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Uncomputability of the $n$-body problem

The gravitational $n$-body problem is well known to be uncomputable; one can not find a general algorithm that works in all cases that can predict the trajectories of $n$n-bodies. However, in contrast ...
Gabriel's user avatar
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1 vote
4 answers
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Superdeterminism and quantum mechanics

I have two questions about superdeterminism: Does superdeterminism allow for free will? Is superdeterminism a viable interpretation of quantum mechanics?
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Is there any paper/experiment on the deterministic behavior of coin-tossing?

I do not have background in Physics but Statistics. I am working on a small project on philosophy of probabilistic modeling. Of course, we often model coin-tossing as if it comes from a Bernoulli ...
0 votes
1 answer
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Does the human brain use random number generators? [duplicate]

Neurons fire depending on the impulses they get from other neurons. This seems to be 'deterministic'. However, sometimes it might be useful to use random processes instead. Does the human brain have ...
Riemann's user avatar
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If you knew perfectly knew the initial state of everything, could you predict everything? [closed]

Due to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, one cannot know the complete state of a system, or particle. And so, unable to know fully certainly the state of a system, it is impossible to perfectly ...
OdinOblivion's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
112 views

Does quantum decoherence desctibe a deterministic universe?

QM describes a system, whose state evolve unitarily, which is deterministic. The apparent non-determinism comes from the measurement problem, where the state is projected to some subspace in a ...
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Entropy of a deterministic reversible system

Suppose a deterministic reversible system evolving from state A of gas located in a small bottle in an otherwise empty room, to state B where the gas is dispersed throughout the room. Why is the ...
nir's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
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Is photon path pre-defined at the time of emission? [duplicate]

I am probably missing an important aspect here, but here are two thought experiments I came up with that make me quite a bit confused. Can some one explain to me, if I am missing any important aspects ...
DKOIMAN's user avatar
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1 answer
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Does the many worlds interpretation not violate determinism?

Okay, consider me dumb here. I’m not a physicist but the question genuinely bugs me and i think there’s a gap in my understanding. But my question presupposes determinism as does the many worlds ...
habib's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
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Why does Norton's thought experiment require a specific dome shape?

Norton's dome famously shows that Newtonian mechanics (as a mathematical model) is non-deterministic. To do this, a very specific potential is chosen. But why does this not work with any dome shape, e....
Matt's user avatar
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7 votes
5 answers
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Revolving pendulum contradicts laplace determinism

A question came once into my mind There is a pendulum having length of string 1metre and was initially at rest. Now the point of suspension suddenly starts to move in uniform horizontal circular ...
Ritil's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
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Is superdeterminism just retrocausality?

I watched this YouTube video by Sabine Hossenfelder to try and better understand superdeterminism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytyjgIyegDI (Note: Physics begins around 8:12, before that she's ...
Kevin's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
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About the determinism of the universe and decidability? [closed]

Note: I have a math/CS background and only basic knowledge of physics. Decidability has to be intended from a logic perspective. To the best of my knowledge, we have no proof if the universe is either ...
Lorenzo's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
251 views

Is Norton's dome valid (or does $\frac{d^2 \vec{p}}{dt^2} = \vec{0} \implies \frac{d^n \vec{p}}{dt^n} = \vec{0} \ \forall \ n > 2$)?

I came across Norton's dome and I don't agree that it proves anything. First, here's an obviously ridiculous and completely nonsensical example that I constructed from thinking about simple harmonic ...
royaljelly's user avatar
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5 answers
1k views

Is there consensus among physicists that reality is fundamentally deterministic? [duplicate]

Does Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle mean that the universe cannot deterministically be predicted by observers, or does it mean that the universe is inherently indeterministic, meaning that the ...
Peter Jordanson's user avatar
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Why is acceleration not usually count as a state? [duplicate]

Position, velocity and acceleration can vary over time. Although only position and velocity are usually count as states of the ODEs. Which makes me wonder why acceleration is not taken as a state?
Lumanae's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
589 views

Are Superdeterminism and Many Worlds compatible quantum interpretations?

Pretty much as my title says... are Superdeterminism and Many Worlds compatible quantum interpretations? It seems to me that they might be compatible, or close to it, maybe even the stronger statement ...
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