Killer collapse: empirically probing the philosophically unsatisfactory region of GRW
GRW theory offers precise laws for the collapse of the wave function. These collapses are characterized by two new constants, \(\lambda \) and \(\sigma \). Recent work has put experimental upper bounds on the collapse rate, \(\lambda \). Lower bounds on \(\lambda \) have been more controversial since GRW begins to take on a many-worlds character for small values of \(\lambda \). Here I examine GRW in this odd region of parameter space where collapse events act as natural disasters that destroy branches of the wave function along with their occupants. Our continued survival provides evidence that we don’t live in a universe like that. I offer a quantitative analysis of how such evidence can be used to assess versions of GRW with small collapse rates in an effort to move towards more principled and experimentally-informed lower bounds for \(\lambda \).
KeywordsGRW theory Many-worlds interpretation Everettian quantum mechanics Primitive ontology Quantum mechanics Collapse rate
Thanks to David Albert, David Baker, Gordon Belot, Cian Dorr, J. Dmitri Gallow, Jeremy Lent, David Manley, Laura Ruetsche, Roderich Tumulka, and an anonymous referee. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. DGE 0718128.
- Bacciagaluppi, G. (2012). The role of decoherence in quantum mechanics. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (2012th ed.). Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.Google Scholar
- Carroll, S. M., & Sebens, C. T. (2014). Many worlds, the born rule, and self-locating uncertainty. In D. Struppa & J. Tollaksen (Eds.), Quantum theory: A two-time success story: Yakir Aharonov Festschrift. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
- Leslie, J. (1989). Universes. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Manley, D. (2014). On being a random sample. Manuscript Google Scholar
- Meacham, C. J. G. (2010). Unravelling the tangled web: Continuity, internalism, uniqueness and self-locating belief. In T. Gendler & J. Hawthorne (Eds.), Oxford studies in epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University.Google Scholar
- Sebens, C. T., & Carroll, S. M. (2014). Self-locating uncertainty and the origin of probability in Everettian quantum mechanics. arXiv:1405.7577 [quant-ph].
- Swinburne, R. (1990). The argument from the fine tuning of the universe. In J. Leslie (Ed.), Physical cosmology and philosophy. New York: MacMillan.Google Scholar
- Vaidman, L. (2014a). Many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (2014th ed.). Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
- Vaidman, L. (2014b). Quantum theory and determinism. Quantum Studies: Mathematics and Foundations, 1(1–2), 5–38.Google Scholar
- Wallace, D. (2014). Life and death in the tails of the GRW wave function. arXiv:1407.4746 [quant-ph].
- Zurek, W. H. (2003). Decoherence and the transition from quantum to classical–Revisited. quant-ph/0306072.