Symmetry of physical laws. Part III: prediction and retrodiction
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An attempt is made within the framework of the accepted quantum physics to achieve the maximum paralllism between prediction (inference of the future observational data from the present ones) and retrodiction (inference of the past observational data from the present ones). To implement this program, it is shown that the retrodictive state function (extrapolation of the present data to the past) can be just as useful as the ordinary "predictive state function" (extrapolation of the present data to the future). This leads to a formalism in which time-reversal becomes a linear transformation and double time-reversal becomes a c-number. In spite of this formal symmetry, it can be shown that the actual success of a retrodiction depends on the satisfaction of an additional condition which is not required in prediction, and which is not always fulfilled. From the same point of view, a logical loophole is pointed out in the indiscriminate application of the H-theorem to the past. The so-called irreversibility of observation is interpreted in terms of the decrease of "information" in the process of inference.
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