1−1=Counterfactual: on the potency and significance of quantum non-events

A Elitzur, Eliahu Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
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We study the unique role played in quantum mechanics by non-events or ‘counterfactuals’. Our earlier analysis of ‘quantum oblivion’ has revealed some subtle stages in the measurement process, which may end up in self-cancellation. To these findings, we now add two insights derived by two time-symmetric interpretations of quantum mechanics. (i) Like all quantum interactions, the non-event is formed by the conjunction of forward-plus-backward-evolving wave functions. (ii) Then, it is another feature of such dual evolutions, namely the involvement of negative masses and energies, that enables Nature to make some events ‘unhappen’ while leaving causal traces.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20150242
Number of pages13
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2068
Early online date18 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2016


  • quantum oblivion
  • counterfactuals
  • non-events
  • interaction-free
  • measurement
  • time symmetry


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