Branching and Uncertainty


Authors
David Wallace
University of Southern California
Simon Saunders
Oxford University
Abstract
Following Lewis, it is widely held that branching worlds differ in important ways from diverging worlds. There is, however, a simple and natural semantics under which ordinary sentences uttered in branching worlds have much the same truth values as they conventionally have in diverging worlds. Under this semantics, whether branching or diverging, speakers cannot say in advance which branch or world is theirs. They are uncertain as to the outcome. This same semantics ensures the truth of utterances typically made about quantum mechanical contingencies, including statements of uncertainty, if the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics is true. The ‘incoherence problem’ of the Everett interpretation, that it can give no meaning to the notion of uncertainty, is thereby solved. IntroductionMetaphysicsPersonal fissionBranching worldsPhysicsObjections
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Reprint years 2008
DOI 10.1093/bjps/axn029
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References found in this work BETA

On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Journal of Philosophy 85 (1):42-47.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 49 (2):333-352.
Survival and Identity.David K. Lewis - 1976 - In Amelie Oksenberg Rorty (ed.), The Identities of Persons. University of California Press. pp. 17-40.
Everett and Structure.David Wallace - 2003 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 34 (1):87-105.
Understanding Deutsch's Probability in a Deterministic Universe.Hilary Greaves - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 35 (3):423-456.

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Citations of this work BETA

Many Worlds and Schrodinger's First Quantum Theory.Valia Allori, Sheldon Goldstein, Roderich Tumulka & Nino Zanghi - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (1):1-27.
Evidence and Uncertainty in Everett's Multiverse.Paul Tappenden - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (1):99-123.
Objective Probability in Everettian Quantum Mechanics.A. Wilson - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (4):709-737.

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