Questions tagged [determinism]

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Quantum physics and hard determinism

Ok, I will try my best to ask my question without going too far into philosophy. I am more or less aware of quantum physics and as far as I know it defies hard-determinism by saying that sub-atomic ...
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Are irreversibility and unpredictability in a system caused by the huge number of molecules?

In my understanding, if we imagine two molecules in a system, we can predict what's going to happen and it's easier to reverse the process than to predict the motions of billions of molecules and ...
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Space invaders and energy conservation [closed]

One of the examples that shows that Newtonian mechanics is non-deterministic is that of a "space invader" (see here) which comes in from an infinite distance at a given time (or with time ...
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Classical unpredictability

Consider, a box with $N$ particles each of mass $m$, arranged at time $t=0$ to be moving parallel to the $x$-direction, with mean velocity v and mean distance l. The particles are spheres of mean ...
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Why is the assumption of free will important to physics [closed]

I have watched a few lectures and have heard in quite some places that free will is an important assumption in physics. For example Bell's theorem assumes that the two experimenters can freely choose ...
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Are (super)determinism and many-worlds compatible? (For past/future prediction purposes)

I recently finished the TV show Devs, whose core premise was the use of superdeterminism, and a powerful quantum computer, to simulate (and view) the past and future. Another important plot point was ...
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Quantum: Is it possible to determine the past knowing the present?

Due to quantum randomicity, it's impossible to determine the future knowing the present. But is it possible to determine the past knowing the present? As far as I understand, it is impossible because ...
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Can macroscopic objects be influenced by quantum physics?

I was wondering if macroscopic objects can be influenced by QM in this thought experiment. A die is launched on a perfectly flat surface. The interaction between surface and die is elastic (no loss of ...
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Determinism and frame-relativity

It's a well known fact that classical mechanics isn't a deterministic theory if you only include the positions and masses of various particles as part of the initial conditions. You also need to ...
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Does quantum mechanics invalidate causality and determinism? [duplicate]

The conductors of this experiment claim that causality is broken or at least made fuzzy by quantum mechanics. Is this really the case?
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How can we prove that pure randomness exists?

I want to know does real randomness ( no cause-effect law ), really exists? And if it exists how can we prove it? because saying something doesn't have a cause is akin to saying we don't know the ...
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If photon experiences time in an instant, does it mean that it's predestined to be consumed? [duplicate]

That one bothers me a lot. If time is collapsed to an instant for the photon, and it experiences it's own end of lifetime, what should happen if photon is never going to be absorbed? Especially ...
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Does my thought experiment adequately address quantum entanglement?

My friend and I (both still undergraduates) were discussing philosophy. He is a fairly strong supporter of determinism, and I am still trying to find out my opinion. So in the spirit of good-natured ...
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What is the relation between non-contextuality and Bell's hidden variable model?

While reading about contextuality in quantum mechanics, I stumbled upon the following statement (in Peres (2002), top of p. 190): in a two-dimensional Hilbert space, it is possible to construct hidden ...
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If 1 photon hits 1 atom, will the departing angle be deterministic?

Consider a single photon fired towards a single atom. After interacting with the atom, the photon heads away from the atom (assume no absorption). Is the angle at which the photon departs ...
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Determinisitic system with a probablisitic initial condition [closed]

Consider a deterministic system like a spring mass damper. Lets say we do not know the exact initial condition but we are given a probability distribution function (PDF), $p(x,v,t = 0)$ of the mass's ...
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Is instability + sensitivity to initial conditions = Chaos?

Please correct me where wrong. I am having trouble finding answers to these specific questions. (1) In chaotic systems, does the presence of chaos and a strange attractor indicate that there is no ...
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Are there any experimental or statistical tests to check deterministicity or stochasticity of a dynamical system?

Are there any simple experimental or statistical tests to check whether a dynamical system is deterministic?
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Are there systems in classical mechanics that are provably non-deterministic? [duplicate]

N body problems mostly don't admit any algebraic solutions although they can be solved numerically at least in principle. Determinism basically is the claim that given any system and its initial ...
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Does exist a (truly) stochastic but causal physical process?

I wonder if it is possible for causality to be held, but not determinism. Does any real-world example exist? If yes, please explain how does that satisfy causality and not determinism. (for example, ...
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I could prove that Copenhagen QM and causality are incompatible; is it right? [closed]

A quantum system consists of some states. It is in all of the states but beCAUSE of the act of the measurement, the wavefunction collapses into one state. I am really confused because I can repeat the ...
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Is 'measurement' deterministic in the pilot wave theory?

From what I read, measurements in pilot wave theory affect the particles as well as the guiding waves. Is it a random process or is everything deterministic according to the theory?
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Why is future 'deterministic' but not the past?

From what I saw, it seems that if theoretically you know the current states of a system (which seems impossible), you can predict its future wave function. But since there are wave function collapses, ...
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Shouldn't classical physics force us to assume that there is determinism on a quantum scale?

I'm not a physicist, I have read a lot about Bell's theorem and the Einstein/Bohr debates and I have the following question: Judging by only classical physics, it seems we live in a 100% ...
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On understanding the relation between Heisenberg Uncertanity Principle, Indeterminism and classical chaos

I recently read Emperor's New Mind by Roger Penrose. In it he talks at length on the notion of determinism in science. In this context how does the Heisenberg Uncertanity Principle bring about the ...
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Is the future set? [duplicate]

If we know the state of the universe at a certain point in time, is the future set? There have been quite a few similar questions on here and some of the answers were quite useful to me. But there is ...
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Is dynamics in GR unique?

Quote: "... a map $h$ of an open set $\Theta$ of a Bnach space $B_1$ into a Banach space $B_2$ is Lipschitz in $\Theta$ if there exists $k\in \mathbb{R}$ such that $||h(a)-h(b)||\leq k||a-b||$ for ...
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Does uncertainty principle imply that the past history of universe is also undetermined?

I read the page here: Is the Uncertainty Principle valid for information about the past?, but I am still somewhat confused. If you measure the momentum/position (with uncertainty) of a particle, what ...
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Could quantum randomness be transformed into classical, macroscale randomness?

If measurements of quantum phenomena can show results that are truly random wouldn't it be possible to establish a macroscale-dependence on such a non-statistical result and thereby introduce ...
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Flipping a coin with same initial conditions

Today, in my physics class my teacher was talking about how we can never predict the outcome of a coin flip. So I thought: Will the outcome of a coin flip be the same if we do not change the initial ...
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Is Gerard 't Hooft's Cellular Automaton Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics background independent?

In Gerard 't Hooft in his Cellular Automata Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/...
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Can a perfectly symmetrical round bead dropped into a perfectly level Galton Board indefinitely balance on a peg?

Probability implies that "The Galton Board consists of a vertical board with interleaved rows of pegs. Beads are dropped from the top and, when the device is level, bounce either left or right as they ...
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Block universe and quantum mechanics [duplicate]

Can a block universe (complete determinism) ever be compatible with quantum mechanics?
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Quantum mechanics limits to understanding the Universe [closed]

By definition, a wave function does not describe a particle's state exactly, we can only know that information when we make measurements and thus collapse the wave function. This gives us a lot of ...
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Quantum Mechanics - How do we know that the observed locations of electrons are random? [duplicate]

How do we know that the observed location of a electron (or any quantum object) is purely random (there is no way to predict it) within the probability-function instead of normal randomness (we don't ...
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Question reg. reasoning of deterministic reversible cyclical laws - The Theoretical Minimum

I recently started reading "The Theoretical Minimum: What you need to know to start doing Physics". In the first chapter, the authors define the "Minus-First law", and state that reversible ".. laws ...
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Is throwing dice a stochastic or a deterministic process?

As far as I understand it a stochastic process is a mathematically defined concept as a collection of random variables which describe outcomes of repeated events while a deterministic process is ...
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Are there theories or experiments involving multi variable particles?

Every hidden variable/entanglement experiment I’ve ever heard described involves ONLY one variable of either polarization or spin. Therefore Venn calculations backed by diagrams highlight the ...
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How do you determine the path of a particle placed in a vector field?

I have recently found a way of expressing newtonian gravity as a vector feild. First the Equation $$F=\frac{Gm_1m_2}{r^2}$$ I only want to know the accelleration in the equation since I only want to ...
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How can the whole path of a particle be determined by its configuration at any time and the rate of change of configuration at that time?

In the image, it says the whole path can be determined by knowing u(t1) and u'(t1) at any point t1. As far as I know, using u(t1) and u'(t1), the best we can do is approximate a nearby point u(t1+del ...
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Non deterministic quantum gates

There are situations (e.g. in quantum optics) where local non-unitary operators can be defined. In these cases, people say that the operation is non-deterministic. Could you please clarify how the ...
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How did Big Bang determine the initial conditions of the universe?

My question is that how did the Big Bang determine the initial distribution of the particles and their wavefunctions? In theories like Bohmian mechanics or Many worlds, how was the universal ...
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If $A^\mu$ is not determined uniquely by Maxwell's equations, what happens if we solve for it numerically?

Given a solution $A^{\mu}(x)$ to Maxwell's equations \begin{equation} \Box A^{\mu}(x)-\partial^{\mu}\partial_{\nu}A^{\nu}=0\tag{1} \end{equation} which also satisfies some specified initial conditions ...
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Does retro-causality imply unpredictability?

In some interpretations of Quantum mechanics (e.g. transactional interpretation), the future affects present. Is this a source of unpredictability in such interpretations, which makes them have the ...
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Predicting the future [duplicate]

In the special theory of relativity, each event is a point in 4d spacetime. And we can represent our life as a world line in the spacetime. Then, if we somehow find out the mathematical equation of ...
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Unpredictability, per definitions of chaotic behavior

Apparently I've been confused about the meaning(s) of "chaotic behavior". I always thought it meant that infinitesimal perturbations of a system parameter would lead to large changes in the system's ...
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Why does information loss in quantum collapse not threaten determinism?

When Hawking argued that information is lost in black holes, this triggered the "black hole war" because it threatened determinism, which would mean the laws of physics are only true on average. But ...
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How does the black hole information paradox threaten quantum determinism?

I was surprised by the subtitle of Susskind’s Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics. I would have expected that information loss would violate ...
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How can a particle's position be random and uncertain in quantum mechanics if it is already pre-determined in relativity?

In relativity, to my knowledge, the path of an object is described by its worldline in spacetime, and since time is a part of the spacetime geometry, an object's worldline--in a sense--always exists ...
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How can the solutions to equations of motion be unique if it seems the same state can be arrived at through different histories?

Let's assume we have a container, a jar, a can or whatever, which has a hole at its end. If there were water inside, via a differential equation we could calculate the time by which the container is ...

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