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Synthese

, Volume 192, Issue 8, pp 2599–2615 | Cite as

Killer collapse: empirically probing the philosophically unsatisfactory region of GRW

  • Charles T. SebensEmail author
Article

Abstract

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 \(\lambda \).

Keywords

GRW theory Many-worlds interpretation Everettian quantum mechanics Primitive ontology Quantum mechanics Collapse rate 

Notes

Acknowledgments

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.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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