David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Synthese 188 (1):67-84 (2012)
In this paper I assess the prospects for combining contemporary Everettian quantum mechanics (EQM) with branching-time semantics in the tradition of Kripke, Prior, Thomason and Belnap. I begin by outlining the salient features of ‘decoherence-based’ EQM, and of the ‘consistent histories’ formalism that is particularly apt for conceptual discussions in EQM. This formalism permits of both ‘branching worlds’ and ‘parallel worlds’ interpretations; the metaphysics of EQM is in this sense underdetermined by the physics. A prominent argument due to Lewis (On the Plurality of Worlds, 1986 ) supports the non-branching interpretation. Belnap et al. (Facing the Future: Agents and Choices in Our Indeterministic World, 2001 ) refer to Lewis’ argument as the ‘Assertion problem’, and propose a pragmatic response to it. I argue that their response is unattractively ad hoc and complex, and that it prevents an Everettian who adopts branching-time semantics from making clear sense of objective probability. The upshot is that Everettians are better off without branching-time semantics. I conclude by discussing and rejecting an alternative possible motivation for branching time.
|Keywords||Everett Quantum Branching Semantics Metaphysics Time Many worlds Lewis Belnap Divergence|
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References found in this work BETA
David K. Lewis (1973). Counterfactuals. Blackwell Publishers.
David K. Lewis (1986/2001). On the Plurality of Worlds. Blackwell Publishers.
Paul M. Churchland (1981). Eliminative Materialism and the Propositional Attitudes. Journal of Philosophy 78 (February):67-90.
Nuel D. Belnap (2001). Facing the Future: Agents and Choices in Our Indeterminist World. Oxford University Press on Demand.
Simon Saunders, Jonathan Barrett, Adrian Kent & David Wallace (eds.) (2010). Many Worlds? Everett, Quantum Theory, and Reality. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Wolfgang Schwarz (2015). Belief Update Across Fission. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (3):659-682.
Alastair Wilson (forthcoming). The Quantum Doomsday Argument. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv035.
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