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|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
References found in this work BETA
Facing the Future: Agents and Choices in Our Indeterminist World.Nuel D. Belnap - 2001 - Oxford University Press on Demand.
Eliminative Materialism and the Propositional Attitudes.Paul M. Churchland - 1981 - Journal of Philosophy 78 (February):67-90.
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Citations of this work BETA
Self-Locating Uncertainty and the Origin of Probability in Everettian Quantum Mechanics.Charles T. Sebens & Sean M. Carroll - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axw004.
Belief Update Across Fission.Wolfgang Schwarz - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (3):659-682.
Belief Update Across Fission: Figure 1.Wolfgang Schwarz - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (3):659-682.
Everettian Confirmation and Sleeping Beauty.A. Wilson - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (3):573-598.
The Quantum Doomsday Argument.Alastair Wilson - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (2).
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