David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
The central part of Everett's formulation of quantum mechanics is a quantum mechanical model of memory and of observation as the recording of information in a memory. To use this model as an answer to the measurement problem, Everett has to assume that a conscious observer can be in a superposition of such memory states and be unaware of it. This assumption has puzzled generations of readers. The fundamental aim of this dissertation is to find a set of simpler assumptions which are sufficient to show that Everett's model is empirically adequate. I argue that Everett's model needs three assumptions to account for the process of observation: an assumption of decoherence of observers as quantum mechanical systems; an assumption of supervenience of mental states (qualities) over quantum mechanical properties; and an assumption about the interpretation of quantum mechanical states in general: quantum mechanical states describe ensembles of states of affairs coexisting in the same system. I argue that the only plausible understanding of such ensembles is as ensembles of possibilities, and that all standard no-collapse interpretations agree in this reading of quantum mechanical states. Their differences can be understood as different theories about what marks the real state within this ensemble, and Everett's theory as the claim that no additional 'mark of reality' is necessary. Using the three assumptions, I argue that introspection cannot determine the objective quantum mechanical state of an observer. Rather, the introspective qualities of a quantum mechanical state can be represented by a (classical) statistical ensemble of subjective states. An analysis of these subjective states and their dynamics leads to the conclusion that they suffice to give empirically correct predictions. The argument for the empirical adequacy of the subjective state entails that knowledge of the objective quantum mechanical state is impossible in principle. Empirical reality for a conscious observer is not described by the objective state, but by a Everettian relative state conditional on the subjective state, and no theoretical 'mark of reality' is necessary for this concept of reality. I compare the resulting concept of reality to Kant's distinction between empirical and transcendental reality.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Milan M. Ćirković (2006). Is Quantum Suicide Painless? On an Apparent Violation of the Principal Principle. Foundations of Science 11 (3):287-296.
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.
László E. Szabó, The Einstein--Podolsky--Rosen Argument and the Bell Inequalities. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
J. R. Lucas (1995). Prospects for Realism in Quantum Mechanics. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 9 (3):225 – 234.
Jeffrey Barrett, Everett's Relative-State Formulation of Quantum Mechanics. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Christoph Lehner (1997). What It Feels Like to Be in a Superposition. And Why. Synthese 110 (2):191-216.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads11 ( #132,630 of 1,096,840 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #273,068 of 1,096,840 )
How can I increase my downloads?