Document Type


Publication Date



Retrocausal models of quantum mechanics add further weight to the conflict between causality and the possible existence of free will. We analyze a simple closed causal loop ensuing from the interaction between two systems with opposing thermodynamic time arrows, such that each system can forecast future events for the other. The loop is avoided by the fact that the choice to abort an event thus forecasted leads to the destruction of the forecaster's past. Physical law therefore enables prophecy of future events only as long as this prophecy is not revealed to a free agent who can otherwise render it false. This resolution is demonstrated on an earlier finding derived from the two-state vector formalism, where a weak measurement's outcome anticipates a future choice, yet this anticipation becomes apparent only after the choice has been actually made. To quantify this assertion, weak information is described in terms of Fisher information. We conclude that an already existing future does not exclude free will nor invoke causal paradoxes. On the quantum level, particles can be thought of as weakly interacting according to their past and future states, but causality remains intact as long as the future is masked by quantum indeterminism.


This article was originally published in Quanta, volume 5, issue 1, in 2016. DOI: 10.12743/quanta.v5i1.44

Peer Reviewed


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.