Synthese

, Volume 188, Issue 1, pp 67–84

Everettian quantum mechanics without branching time

Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11229-011-0048-9

Cite this article as:
Wilson, A. Synthese (2012) 188: 67. doi:10.1007/s11229-011-0048-9

Abstract

In this paper I assess the prospects for combining contemporary Everettian quantum mechanics (EQM) with branching-time semantics in the tradition of Kripke, Prior, Thomason and Belnap. I begin by outlining the salient features of ‘decoherence-based’ EQM, and of the ‘consistent histories’ formalism that is particularly apt for conceptual discussions in EQM. This formalism permits of both ‘branching worlds’ and ‘parallel worlds’ interpretations; the metaphysics of EQM is in this sense underdetermined by the physics. A prominent argument due to Lewis (On the Plurality of Worlds, 1986) supports the non-branching interpretation. Belnap et al. (Facing the Future: Agents and Choices in Our Indeterministic World, 2001) refer to Lewis’ argument as the ‘Assertion problem’, and propose a pragmatic response to it. I argue that their response is unattractively ad hoc and complex, and that it prevents an Everettian who adopts branching-time semantics from making clear sense of objective probability. The upshot is that Everettians are better off without branching-time semantics. I conclude by discussing and rejecting an alternative possible motivation for branching time.

Keywords

Everett Quantum Branching Semantics Metaphysics Time Many worlds Lewis Belnap Divergence 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Philosophy & BioethicsMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations