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Summary Everettians understand quantum mechanics in a straightforwardly realist way, interpreting macroscopic superpositions as multiplicity rather than as indeterminateness. Instead of Schrodinger's cat being half-alive and half-dead, there are two cats - one alive, one dead. Modern versions of Everettianism rely heavily on the process of decoherence to explain how multiplicity arises; some previous advocates added an additional set of fundamental branching worlds to the quantum formalism.
Key works Wallace 2012 provides a comprehensive treatment of contemporary Everettian quantum mechanics. An anthology covering a wide variety of perspectives on the interpretation is Saunders et al 2010. Everett's original proposal is available in its full form in Everett 1973
Introductions Vaidman 2008
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  1. David Z. Albert & Jeffrey A. Barrett (1995). On What It Takes to Be a World. Topoi 14 (1):35-37.
    A many-worlds interpretation is of quantum mechanics tells us that the linear equations of motion are the true and complete laws for the time-evolution of every physical system and that the usual quantum-mechanical states provide complete descriptions of all possible physical situations. Such an interpretation, however, denies the standard way of understanding quantum-mechanical states. When the pointer on a measuring device is in a superposition of pointing many different directions, for example, we are to understand this as many pointers, each (...)
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  2. David Albert & Barry Loewer (1989). Symposiums Papers: Two No-Collapse Interpretations of Quantum Theory. Noûs 23 (2):169-186.
  3. David Albert & Barry Loewer (1988). Interpreting the Many-Worlds Interpretation. Synthese 77 (November):195-213.
  4. V. Allori, S. Goldstein, R. Tumulka & N. Zanghi (2011). Many Worlds and Schrodinger's First Quantum Theory. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (1):1-27.
    Schrödinger’s first proposal for the interpretation of quantum mechanics was based on a postulate relating the wave function on configuration space to charge density in physical space. Schrödinger apparently later thought that his proposal was empirically wrong. We argue here that this is not the case, at least for a very similar proposal with charge density replaced by mass density. We argue that when analyzed carefully, this theory is seen to be an empirically adequate many-worlds theory and not an empirically (...)
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  5. Valia Allori (2013). On the Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics. In Soazig Lebihan (ed.), Precis de la Philosophie de la Physique. Vuibert.
    What is quantum mechanics about? The most natural way to interpret quantum mechanics realistically as a theory about the world might seem to be what is called wave function ontology: the view according to which the wave function mathematically represents in a complete way fundamentally all there is in the world. Erwin Schroedinger was one of the first proponents of such a view, but he dismissed it after he realized it led to macroscopic superpositions (if the wave function evolves in (...)
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  6. István Aranyosi (2012). Should We Fear Quantum Torment? Ratio 25 (3):249-259.
    The prospect, in terms of subjective expectations, of immortality under the no-collapse interpretation of quantum mechanics is certain, as pointed out by several authors, both physicists and, more recently, philosophers. The argument, known as quantum suicide, or quantum immortality, has received some critical discussion, but there hasn't been any questioning of David Lewis's point that there is a terrifying corollary to the argument, namely, that we should expect to live forever in a crippled, more and more damaged state, that barely (...)
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  7. Guido Bacciagaluppi, The Role of Decoherence in Quantum Mechanics. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Interference phenomena are a well-known and crucial feature of quantum mechanics, the two-slit experiment providing a standard example. There are situations, however, in which interference effects are (artificially or spontaneously) suppressed. We shall need to make precise what this means, but the theory of decoherence is the study of (spontaneous) interactions between a system and its environment that lead to such suppression of interference. This study includes detailed modelling of system-environment interactions, derivation of equations (‘master equations’) for the (reduced) state (...)
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  8. Guido Bacciagaluppi (2002). Remarks on Space-Time and Locality in Everett's Interpretation. In. In T. Placek & J. Butterfield (eds.), Non-Locality and Modality. Kluwer. 105--122.
  9. David Baker (2007). Measurement Outcomes and Probability in Everettian Quantum Mechanics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 38 (1):153-169.
    The decision-theoretic account of probability in the Everett or many-worlds interpretation, advanced by David Deutsch and David Wallace, is shown to be circular. Talk of probability in Everett presumes the existence of a preferred basis to identify measurement outcomes for the probabilities to range over. But the existence of a preferred basis can only be established by the process of decoherence, which is itself probabilistic.
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  10. L. E. Ballentine (1973). Can the Statistical Postulate of Quantum Theory Be Derived?—A Critique of the Many-Universes Interpretation. Foundations of Physics 3 (2):229-240.
    The attempt to derive (rather than assume) the statistical postulate of quantum theory from the many-universes interpretation of Everett and De Witt is analyzed The many-universes interpretation is found to be neither necessary nor sufficient for the task.
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  11. D. Bar (1998). The Feynman Path Integrals and Everett's Universal Wave Function. Foundations of Physics 28 (8):1383-1391.
    We study here the properties of some quantum mechanical wave functions, which, in contrast to the regular quantum mechanical wave functions, can be predetermined with certainty (probability 1) by performing dense measurements (or continuous observations). These specific “certain” states are the junction points through which pass all the diverse paths that can proceed between each two such neighboring “sure” points. When we compare the properties of these points to the properties of the well-known universal wave functions of Everett we find (...)
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  12. Howard Barnum, The Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics: Psychological Versus Physical Bases for the Multiplicity of "Worlds".
    This unpublished 1990 preprint argues that a crucial distinction in discussions of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics (MWI) is that between versions of the interpretation positing a physical multiplicity of worlds, and those in which the multiplicity is merely psychological, and due to the splitting of consciousness upon interaction with amplified quantum superpositions. It is argued that Everett's original version of the MWI belongs to the latter class, and that most of the criticisms leveled against the MWI, in particular (...)
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  13. Howard Barnum, Dieks' Realistic Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics: A Comment.
    D. Dieks has proposed a semantical rule which he claims yields a realistic interpretation of the formalism of quantum mechanics without the projection postulate. I argue that his proposal is unacceptable because it violates a natural requirement of psychophysical parallelism. His "semantical rule" is not an acceptable interpretive rule because it does not identify structures in the theory with structures in our experience, but postulates a merely probabilistic relationship between the two. Dieks' interpretation is contrasted with Everett's relative state interpretation, (...)
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  14. Jeffrey Barrett (2011). Everett's Pure Wave Mechanics and the Notion of Worlds. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (2):277-302.
    Everett (1957a, b, 1973) relative-state formulation of quantum mechanics has often been taken to involve a metaphysical commitment to the existence of many splitting worlds each containing physical copies of observers and the objects they observe. While there was earlier talk of splitting worlds in connection with Everett, this is largely due to DeWitt’s (Phys Today 23:30–35, 1970) popular presentation of the theory. While the thought of splitting worlds or parallel universes has captured the popular imagination, Everett himself favored the (...)
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  15. Jeffrey Barrett, Everett's Relative-State Formulation of Quantum Mechanics. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Everett's relative-state formulation of quantum mechanics is an attempt to solve the measurement problem by dropping the collapse dynamics from the standard von Neumann-Dirac theory of quantum mechanics. The main problem with Everett's theory is that it is not at all clear how it is supposed to work. In particular, while it is clear that he wanted to explain why we get determinate measurement results in the context of his theory, it is unclear how he intended to do this. There (...)
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  16. Jeffrey A. Barrett (2011). On the Faithful Interpretation of Pure Wave Mechanics. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (4):693-709.
    Given Hugh Everett III's understanding of the proper cognitive status of physical theories, his relative-state formulation of pure wave mechanics arguably qualifies as an empirically acceptable physical theory. The argument turns on the precise nature of the relationship that Everett requires between the empirical substructure of an empirically faithful physical theory and experience. On this view, Everett provides a weak resolution to both the determinate record and the probability problems encountered by pure wave mechanics, and does so in a way (...)
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  17. Jeffrey A. Barrett (2005). The Preferred-Basis Problem and the Quantum Mechanics of Everything. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (2):199-220.
    argued that there are two options for what he called a realistic solution to the quantum measurement problem: (1) select a preferred set of observables for which definite values are assumed to exist, or (2) attempt to assign definite values to all observables simultaneously (1810–1). While conventional wisdom has it that the second option is ruled out by the Kochen-Specker theorem, Vink nevertheless advocated it. Making every physical quantity determinate in quantum mechanics carries with it significant conceptual costs, but it (...)
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  18. Jeffrey A. Barrett (1997). On the Nature of Experience in the Bare Theory. Synthese 113 (3):347-355.
    Quantum mechanics without the collapse postulate, the bare theory, was proposed by Albert (1992) as a way of understanding Everett's relative-state formulation of quantum mechanics. The basic idea is to try to account for an observer's beliefs by appealing to a type of illusion predicted by the bare theory. This paper responds to some recent objections to the bare theory by providing a more detailed description of the sense in which it can and the sense in which it cannot account (...)
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  19. Jeffrey A. Barrett (1996). Empirical Adequacy and the Availability of Reliable Records in Quantum Mechanics. Philosophy of Science 63 (1):49-64.
    In order to judge whether a theory is empirically adequate one must have epistemic access to reliable records of past measurement results that can be compared against the predictions of the theory. Some formulations of quantum mechanics fail to satisfy this condition. The standard theory without the collapse postulate is an example. Bell's reading of Everett's relative-state formulation is another. Furthermore, there are formulations of quantum mechanics that only satisfy this condition for a special class of observers, formulations whose empirical (...)
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  20. Jeffrey A. Barrett (1995). The Single-Mind and Many-Minds Versions of Quantum Mechanics. Erkenntnis 42 (1):89 - 105.
    There is a long tradition of trying to find a satisfactory interpretation of Everett's relative-state formulation of quantum mechanics. Albert and Loewer recently described two new ways of reading Everett: one we will call the single-mind theory and the other the many-minds theory. I will briefly describe these theories and present some of their merits and problems. Since both are no-collapse theories, a significant merit is that they can take advantage of certain properties of the linear dynamics, which Everett (...)
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  21. Jeffrey A. Barrett (1994). The Suggestive Properties of Quantum Mechanics Without the Collapse Postulate. Erkenntnis 41 (2):233 - 252.
    Everett proposed resolving the quantum measurement problem by dropping the nonlinear collapse dynamics from quantum mechanics and taking what is left as a complete physical theory. If one takes such a proposal seriously, then the question becomes how much of the predictive and explanatory power of the standard theory can one recover without the collapse postulate and without adding anything else. Quantum mechanics without the collapse postulate has several suggestive properties, which we will consider in some detail. While these properties (...)
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  22. Jeffrey Alan Barrett (1999). The Quantum Mechanics of Minds and Worlds. Oxford University Press.
    Jeffrey Barrett presents the most comprehensive study yet of a problem that has puzzled physicists and philosophers since the 1930s.
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  23. Paul Benioff (1978). A Note on the Everett Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. Foundations of Physics 8 (9-10):709-720.
    Three aspects of the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics are considered. It is first shown that the proof of the metatheorem is not complete—thus it is an open question as to whether or not it is true. Next, some difficulties for the Everett interpretation and the metatheorem, which arise from consideration of the physics developed by observers in maverick universes, are discussed. Finally, it is shown that the universal state description of an ever-branching universe with each branch corresponding to a (...)
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  24. Brett Maynard Bevers (2011). Everett's “Many-Worlds” Proposal. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 42 (1):3-12.
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  25. Michel Bitbol (1996). Schrödinger's Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
    This book gives a comprehensive account of Schrödinger's successive interpretations of quantum mechanics, culminating in their final synthesis in the 1950s. Schrödinger's original position in the realism-anti-realism debate is analyzed. His views on the wave-corpuscle issue are contrasted with Bohr's, and his conceptions of the measurement problem are systematically compared with current no-collapse interpretations.
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  26. William Boos (1996). Mathematical Quantum Theory I: Random Ultrafilters as Hidden Variables. Synthese 107 (1):83 - 143.
    The basic purpose of this essay, the first of an intended pair, is to interpret standard von Neumann quantum theory in a framework of iterated measure algebraic truth for mathematical (and thus mathematical-physical) assertions — a framework, that is, in which the truth-values for such assertions are elements of iterated boolean measure-algebras (cf. Sections 2.2.9, 5.2.1–5.2.6 and 5.3 below).The essay itself employs constructions of Takeuti's boolean-valued analysis (whose origins lay in work of Scott, Solovay, Krauss and others) to provide a (...)
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  27. D. J. Bradley (2012). Four Problems About Self-Locating Belief. Philosophical Review 121 (2):149-177.
    This article defends the Doomsday Argument, the Halfer Position in Sleeping Beauty, the Fine-Tuning Argument, and the applicability of Bayesian confirmation theory to the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics. It will argue that all four problems have the same structure, and it gives a unified treatment that uses simple models of the cases and no controversial assumptions about confirmation or self-locating evidence. The article will argue that the troublesome feature of all these cases is not self-location but selection effects.
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  28. Darren Bradley (forthcoming). Everettian Confirmation and Sleeping Beauty: Reply to Wilson. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axt042.
    In Bradley ([2011b]), I offered an analysis of Sleeping Beauty and the Everettian interpretation of quantum mechanics (EQM). I argued that one can avoid a kind of easy confirmation of EQM by paying attention to observation selection effects, that halfers are right about Sleeping Beauty, and that thirders cannot avoid easy confirmation for the truth of EQM. Wilson ([forthcoming]) agrees with my analysis of observation selection effects in EQM, but goes on to, first, defend Elga’s ([2000]) thirder argument on Sleeping (...)
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  29. Darren Bradley (2011). Confirmation in a Branching World: The Everett Interpretation and Sleeping Beauty. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (2):323-342.
    Sometimes we learn what the world is like, and sometimes we learn where in the world we are. Are there any interesting differences between the two kinds of cases? The main aim of this article is to argue that learning where we are in the world brings into view the same kind of observation selection effects that operate when sampling from a population. I will first explain what observation selection effects are ( Section 1 ) and how they are relevant (...)
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  30. Harvey R. Brown & David Wallace (2005). Solving the Measurement Problem: De Broglie-Bohm Loses Out to Everett. [REVIEW] Foundations of Physics 35 (4):517-540.
    The quantum theory of de Broglie and Bohm solves the measurement problem, but the hypothetical corpuscles play no role in the argument. The solution finds a more natural home in the Everett interpretation.
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  31. Harvey Brown & David Wallace (2005). Solving the Measurement Problem: De Broglie-Bohm Loses Out to Everett. [REVIEW] Foundations of Physics 35 (4):517-540.
    The quantum theory of de Broglie and Bohm solves the measurement problem, but the hypothetical corpuscles play no role in the argument. The solution finds a more natural home in the Everett interpretation.
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  32. Jeffrey Bub & Itamar Pitowsky (2010). Two Dogmas About Quantum Mechanics. In Simon Saunders, Jonathan Barrett, Adrian Kent & David Wallace (eds.), Many Worlds?: Everett, Quantum Theory, & Reality. Oup Oxford.
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  33. Jeremy Butterfield (2001). Some Worlds of Quantum Theory. In R. J. Russell, N. Murphy & C. J. Isham (eds.), Quantum Physics and Divine Action. Vatican Observatory Publications. 111--140.
    Abstract: This paper assesses the Everettian approach to the measurement problem, especially the version of that approach advocated by Simon Saunders and David Wallace. I emphasise conceptual, indeed metaphysical, aspects rather than technical ones; but I include an introductory exposition of decoherence. In particular, I discuss whether---as these authors maintain---it is acceptable to have no precise definition of 'branch' (in the Everettian kind of sense). (A version of this paper will appear in a CTNS/Vatican Observatory volume on Quantum Theory and (...)
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  34. Rob Clifton (1996). On What Being a World Takes Away. Philosophy of Science 63 (3):158.
    In their article "On What It Takes To Be a World", David Albert and Jeffrey Barrett raise "a rather urgent question about what the proponents of a many-worlds interpretation [of quantum mechanics] can possibly mean by the term 'worlds' " (1995, 35). I argue that their considerations do not translate into an argument against the Many-Worlds conception of a world unless one requires that the dispositions that measurement devices display through the outcomes they record be explainable in terms of facts (...)
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  35. Christina Conroy (2012). The Relative Facts Interpretation and Everett's Note Added in Proof. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 43 (2):112-120.
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  36. Michael E. Cuffaro (2013). On the Physical Explanation for Quantum Computational Speedup. Dissertation, The University of Western Ontario
    The aim of this dissertation is to clarify the debate over the explanation of quantum speedup and to submit, for the reader's consideration, a tentative resolution to it. In particular, I argue, in this dissertation, that the physical explanation for quantum speedup is precisely the fact that the phenomenon of quantum entanglement enables a quantum computer to fully exploit the representational capacity of Hilbert space. This is impossible for classical systems, joint states of which must always be representable as product (...)
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  37. Michael E. Cuffaro (2012). Many Worlds, the Cluster-State Quantum Computer, and the Problem of the Preferred Basis. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 43 (1):35-42.
    I argue that the many worlds explanation of quantum computation is not licensed by, and in fact is conceptually inferior to, the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics from which it is derived. I argue that the many worlds explanation of quantum computation is incompatible with the recently developed cluster state model of quantum computation. Based on these considerations I conclude that we should reject the many worlds explanation of quantum computation.
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  38. Dennis Dieks (1991). On Some Alleged Difficulties in the Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. Synthese 86 (1):77 - 86.
  39. Foad Dizadji-Bahmani (forthcoming). The Probability Problem in Everettian Quantum Mechanics Persists. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axt035.
    Everettian quantum mechanics (EQM) results in ‘multiple, emergent, branching quasi-classical realities’ (Wallace [2012]). The possible outcomes of measurement as per ‘orthodox’ quantum mechanics are, in EQM, all instantiated. Given this metaphysics, Everettians face the ‘probability problem’—how to make sense of probabilities and recover the Born rule. To solve the probability problem, Wallace, following Deutsch ([1999]), has derived a quantum representation theorem. I argue that Wallace’s solution to the probability problem is unsuccessful, as follows. First, I examine one of the axioms (...)
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  40. Cian Dorr, Finding Ordinary Objects in Some Quantum Worlds.
    cation we have in mind is that of formulating the laws of a classical meration space to the complex numbers. But what is it for such a function chanics of point-particles living in Newtonian absolute space, one espe-.
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  41. Armond Duwell (2007). The Many-Worlds Interpretation and Quantum Computation. Philosophy of Science 74 (5):1007-1018.
    David Deutsch and others have suggested that the Many-Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics is the only interpretation capable of explaining the special efficiency quantum computers seem to enjoy over classical ones. I argue that this view is not tenable. Using a toy algorithm I show that the Many-Worlds Interpretation must crucially use the ontological status of the universal state vector to explain quantum computational efficiency, as opposed to the particular ontology of the MWI, that is, the computational histories of worlds. (...)
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  42. Laura Felline (2007). Nonlocality in Everettian Accounts of Quantum Mechanics. Isonomia.
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  43. Laura Felline & Guido Bacciagaluppi (forthcoming). Locality and Mentality in Everett Interpretations: Albert and Loewer’s Many Minds. Mind and Matter.
    This is the first of two papers reviewing and analysing the approach to locality and to mind-body dualism proposed in Everett interpreta- tions of quantum mechanics. The planned companion paper will focus on the contemporary decoherence-based approaches to Everett. This paper instead treats the explicitly mentalistic Many Minds Interpreta- tion proposed by David Albert and Barry Loewer (Albert and Loewer 1988). In particular, we investigate what kind of supervenience of the mind on the body is implied by Albert and Loewer’s (...)
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  44. Alan Forrester (2007). Decision Theory and Information Propagation in Quantum Physics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 38 (4):815-831.
    In recent papers, Zurek [(2005). Probabilities from entanglement, Born's rule pk=|ψk|2 from entanglement. Physical Review A, 71, 052105] has objected to the decision-theoretic approach of Deutsch [(1999) Quantum theory of probability and decisions. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A, 455, 3129–3137] and Wallace [(2003). Everettian rationality: defending Deutsch's approach to probability in the Everett interpretation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 34, 415–438] to deriving the Born rule for quantum probabilities on the grounds that it courts (...)
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  45. Shan Gao, An Exceptionally Simple Argument Against the Many-Worlds Interpretation.
    It is shown that the superposed wave function of a measuring device, in each branch of which there is a definite measurement result, does not correspond to many mutually unobservable but equally real worlds, as the superposed wave function can be observed in our world by protective measurement.
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  46. Shan Gao, Why the de Broglie-Bohm Theory is Probably Wrong.
    We investigate the validity of the field explanation of the wave function by analyzing the mass and charge density distributions of a quantum system. It is argued that a charged quantum system has effective mass and charge density distributing in space, proportional to the square of the absolute value of its wave function. This is also a consequence of protective measurement. If the wave function is a physical field, then the mass and charge density will be distributed in space simultaneously (...)
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  47. Robert Geroch (1984). The Everett Interpretation. Noûs 18 (4):617-633.
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  48. Hilary Greaves, Probability in Everettian Quantum Mechanics.
    (a) How to design a nuclear power plant 3. Deutsch/Wallace solution to the practical problem (a) Argue that the rational Everettian agent makes decisions by maximizing expected utility, where the expectation value is an average over branches 4. The semantics of branching - two options..
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  49. Hilary Greaves (2007). Probability in the Everett Interpretation. Philosophy Compass 2 (1):109–128.
    The Everett (many-worlds) interpretation of quantum mechanics faces a prima facie problem concerning quantum probabilities. Research in this area has been fast-paced over the last few years, following a controversial suggestion by David Deutsch that decision theory can solve the problem. This article provides a non-technical introduction to the decision-theoretic program, and a sketch of the current state of the debate.
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  50. Hilary Greaves (2007). On the Everettian Epistemic Problem. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (1):120-152.
    Recent work in the Everett interpretation has suggested that the problem of probability can be solved by understanding probability in terms of rationality. However, there are *two* problems relating to probability in Everett --- one practical, the other epistemic --- and the rationality-based program *directly* addresses only the practical problem. One might therefore worry that the problem of probability is only `half solved' by this approach. This paper aims to dispel that worry: a solution to the epistemic problem follows from (...)
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