The Basis Problem in Many-Worlds Theories


Abstract
It is emphasized that a many-worlds interpretation of quantum theory exists only to the extent that the associated basis problem is solved. The core basis problem is that the robust enduring states specified by environmental decoherence effects are essentially Gaussian wave packets that form continua of non-orthogonal states. Hence they are not a discrete set of orthogonal basis states to which finite probabilities can be assigned by the usual rules. The natural way to get an orthogonal basis without going outside the Schroedinger dynamics is to use the eigenstates of the reduced density matrix, and this idea is the basis of some recent attempts by many-worlds proponents to solve the basis problem. But these eigenstates do not enjoy the locality and quasi-classicality properties of the states defined by environmental decoherence effects, and hence are not satisfactory preferred basis states. This core problem is obscured by approaches that treat the universe as a quantum computer, but it needs to be addressed and resolved before a many-worlds-type interpretation can be said to exist
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 39,566
External links

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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Lev Vaidman - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Quantum Leaps in Philosophy of Mind.David Bourget - 2004 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (12):17--42.
Spatial Degrees of Freedom in Everett Quantum Mechanics.Mark A. Rubin - 2006 - Foundations of Physics 36 (8):1115-1159.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Quantum Probability and Many Worlds.Meir Hemmo - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (2):333-350.
Partial Worlds and Paradox.Elke Brendel - 1993 - Erkenntnis 39 (2):191 - 208.
The Preferred-Basis Problem and the Quantum Mechanics of Everything.Jeffrey A. Barrett - 2005 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (2):199-220.
The 'Decoherence' Approach to the Measurement Problem in Quantum Mechanics.Andrew Elby - 1994 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:355 - 365.
Many Worlds, the Cluster-State Quantum Computer, and the Problem of the Preferred Basis.Michael E. Cuffaro - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 43 (1):35-42.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
77 ( #94,853 of 2,325,496 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #699,880 of 2,325,496 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature