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Zenith Grant Awardee

Carlo Rovelli

Samy Maroun Center for Space Time and the Quantum

Project Title

Agency in time-reversal symmetric microphysics

Project Summary

When we take a decision, we affect the future, not the past. In fundamental physics, all distinctions between past and future can be traced to the second law of thermodynamics or similar statistic considerations. In this project, we study the relation between the time asymmetry of decision and the time asymmetry of thermodynamics.

Technical Abstract

Agency is time oriented: we act to affect the future, not the past. This is compatible with the irreversibility we observe in the physical world. It is conceivable, however, that this irreversibility depends on the increase of entropy made possible by past low entropy, or analogous appropriate past conditions. If so, there should a way to ground the behavior we call "agency" in the fact that entropy was low in the past. This connection is, I believe, still unclear, and I aim at clarifying it in this research project.

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