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Foundations of Physics

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 211–217 | Cite as

Does it Make Sense to Speak of Self-Locating Uncertainty in the Universal Wave Function? Remarks on Sebens and Carroll

  • Adrian Kent
Article

Abstract

Following a proposal of Vaidman (Int Stud Philos Sci 12:245–261, 1998) (in: Zalta EN (ed) The Stanford encyclopaedia of philosophy, 2014) (in: Ben-Menahem Y, Hemmo M (ed) The probable and the improbable: understanding probability in physics, essays in memory of Itamar Pitowsky, 2011), Sebens and Carroll (Quantum theory: a two-time success story 2014), (arXiv preprint arXiv:1405.7577 2014) have argued that in Everettian (i.e. purely unitary) quantum theory, observers are uncertain, before they complete their observation, about which Everettian branch they are on. They argue further that this solves the problem of making sense of probabilities within Everettian quantum theory, even though the theory itself is deterministic. We note some problems with these arguments.

Keywords

Many worlds Quantum theory Everett Probability 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I am grateful to Charles Bennett, Sean Carroll, James Hartle, Ruth Kastner, Jess Riedel, Charles Sebens, Graeme Smith, John Smolin, Mark Srednicki, Lev Vaidman, Michael Zwolak and Wojciech Zurek for very helpful comments and discussions. I also thank Charles Bennett and Jess Riedel for organising the August 2014 workshop “Quantum Foundations of a Classical Universe”, at which several of these discussions took place. This work was partially supported by grants from the John Templeton Foundation and from FQXi, and by Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Research at Perimeter Institute is supported by the Government of Canada through Industry Canada and by the Province of Ontario through the Ministry of Research and Innovation.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Quantum Information and Foundations, Centre for Mathematical Sciences, DAMTPUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Perimeter Institute for Theoretical PhysicsWaterlooCanada

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