It is shown that the superposed wave function of a measuring device, in each branch of which there is a definite measurement result, does not correspond to many mutually unobservable but equally real worlds, as the superposed wave function can be observed in our world by protective measurement.
Quantum Mechanics notoriously faces a measurement problem, the problem that the unitary time evolution, encoded in its dynamical equations, together with the kinematical structure of the theory generally implies the non-existence of definite measurement outcomes. There have been multiple suggestions to solve this problem, among them the so called many worlds interpretation that originated with the work of Hugh Everett III. According to it, the quantum state and time evolution fully and accurately describe nature as it is, implying (...) that under certain conditions multiple measurement outcomes that are seemingly mutually exclusive can be realized at the same time – but as different 'worlds' contained in a global, quantum mechanical structure, sometimes referred to as 'the multiverse'. The many worlds interpretation has, however, been confronted with serious difficulties over the course of its development, some of which were solved by the advent of decoherence theory. The present thesis critically investi- gates the state of play on a key remaining problem of the many worlds interpretation, the problem of the meaning and quantiﬁcation of probabilities in a quantum multiverse. Recent attempts of deriving the pivotal statistical ingredient of quantum mechanics, Born’s rule, from either principles of decision theory or from quantum mechanics alone, supplemented with a few general premises about probability are analyzed and their premises are scrutinized. It will be argued that, though both approaches yield promising results, they both ultimately fail to clearly establish the validity of Born’s rule in the context of the many worlds interpretation. It is hence suggested that further research on this problem is indicated. (shrink)
The Many-Worlds Interpretation (MWI) is an approach to quantum mechanics according to which, in addition to the world we are aware of directly, there are many other similar worlds which exist in parallel at the same space and time. The existence of the other worlds makes it possible to remove randomness and action at a distance from quantum theory and thus from all physics.
This is a philosophical paper in favor of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum theory. The necessity of introducing many worlds is explained by analyzing a neutron interference experiment. The concept of the “measure of existence of a world” is introduced and some difficulties with the issue of probability in the framework of the MWI are resolved.
David Deutsch and others have suggested that the Many-Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics is the only interpretation capable of explaining the special efficiency quantum computers seem to enjoy over classical ones. I argue that this view is not tenable. Using a toy algorithm I show that the Many-Worlds Interpretation must crucially use the ontological status of the universal state vector to explain quantum computational efficiency, as opposed to the particular ontology of the MWI, that is, (...) the computational histories of worlds. As such, any other interpretation that treats the state vector as representing real ontological features of a system can explain quantum speedup too. ‡Thanks to Soazig Le Bihan for her critical comments on this paper. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, Liberal Arts 101, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812; e-mail: armond. duwell @umontana.edu. (shrink)
In a series of papers, a many-minds interpretation of quantum theory has been developed. The aim in these papers is to present an explicit mathematical formalism which constitutes a complete theory compatible with relativistic quantum ﬁeld theory. In this paper, which could also serve as an introduction to the earlier papers, three issues are discussed. First, a signiﬁcant, but fairly straightforward, revision in some of the technical details is proposed. This is used as an opportunity to introduce the (...) formalism. Then the probabilistic structure of the theory is revised, and it is proposed that the experience of an individual observer can be modelled as the experience of observing a particular, identiﬁed, discrete stochastic process. Finally, it is argued that the formalism can be modiﬁed to give a physics in which no constants are required. Instead, “constants” have to be determined by observation, and are ﬁxed only to the extent to which they have been observed. (shrink)
It is argued that, although in the Many-Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics there is no ``probability'' for an outcome of a quantum experiment in the usual sense, we can understand why we have an illusion of probability. The explanation involves: a). A ``sleeping pill'' gedanken experiment which makes correspondence between an illegitimate question: ``What is the probability of an outcome of a quantum measurement?'' with a legitimate question: ``What is the probability that ``I'' am in the world corresponding (...) to that outcome?''; b). A gedanken experiment which splits the world into several worlds which are identical according to some symmetry condition; and c). Relativistic causality, which together with explain the Born rule of standard quantum mechanics. The Quantum Sleeping Beauty controversy and ``caring measure'' replacing probability measure are discussed. (shrink)
This is a philosophical paper in favor of the Many-Worlds Interpretation of quantum theory. The concept of the ``measure of existence of a world'' is introduced and some difficulties with the issue of probability in the framework of the MWI are resolved.
The attempt to derive (rather than assume) the statistical postulate of quantum theory from the many-universes interpretation of Everett and De Witt is analyzed The many-universes interpretation is found to be neither necessary nor sufficient for the task.
This unpublished 1990 preprint argues that a crucial distinction in discussions of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics (MWI) is that between versions of the interpretation positing a physical multiplicity of worlds, and those in which the multiplicity is merely psychological, and due to the splitting of consciousness upon interaction with amplified quantum superpositions. It is argued that Everett's original version of the MWI belongs to the latter class, and that most of the criticisms leveled against the (...) MWI, in particular that it is illogical or incoherent, are not valid against such "psychological-multiplicity" versions. Attempts to derive the quantum-mechanical probabilities from the many-worlds interpretation are reviewed, and Everett's initial derivation is extended in an attempt to show that these are the unique possible probabilities. But there remains a challenge for proponents of the MWI: to show that their interpretation requires probabilities, rather than merely nonprobabilistic indeterminacy. A 2002 preface, revised in 2004, briefly discusses the extent to which I still agree with the claims in the paper. While its derivation of probabilities used, and failed to justify, noncontextuality, I still agree with the paper's general interpretation of the MWI, though not with the MWI itself. (shrink)
The many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics predicts the formation of distinct parallel worlds as a result, of a quantum mechanical measurement. Communication among these parallel worlds would experimentally rule out alternatives to this interpretation. A possible procedure for “interworld” exchange of information and energy, using only state of the art quantum optical equipement, is described. A single ion is isolated from its environment in an ion trap. Then a quantum mechanical measurement with two discrete outcomes is performed (...) on another system, resulting in the formation of two parallel worlds. Depending on the outcome of this measurement the ion is excited from only one of the parallel worlds before the ion decoheres through its interaction with the environment. A detection of this excitation in the other parallel world is direct evidence for the many-worlds interpretation. This method could have important practical applications in physics and beyond. (shrink)
Computationalism provides a framework for understanding how a mathematically describable physical world could give rise to conscious observations without the need for dualism. A criterion is proposed for the implementation of computations by physical systems, which has been a problem for computationalism. Together with an independence criterion for implementations this would allow, in principle, prediction of probabilities for various observations based on counting implementations. Applied to quantum mechanics, this results in a Many Computations Interpretation (MCI), which is an (...) explicit form of the Everett style Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI). Derivation of the Born Rule emerges as the central problem for most realist interpretations of quantum mechanics. If the Born Rule is derived based on computationalism and the wavefunction it would provide strong support for the MWI; but if the Born Rule is shown not to follow from these to an experimentally falsified extent, it would indicate the necessity for either new physics or (more radically) new philosophy of mind. (shrink)
An attempt to solve the collapse problem in the framework of a time-symmetric quantum formalism is reviewed. Although the proposal does not look very attractive, its concept - a world defined by two quantum states, one evolving forwards and one evolving backwards in time - is found to be useful in modifying the many-worlds picture of Everett’s theory.
It is argued that the components of the superposed wave function of a measuring device, each of which represents a definite measurement result, do not correspond to many worlds, one of which is our world, because all components of the wave function can be measured in our world by a serious of protective measurements, and they all exist in this world.
Standard presentations of axioms for set theory as truths simpliciter about actual-objects the sets-confront a number of puzzles associated with platonism and foundationalism. In his classic, Zermelo suggested an alternative "many worlds" view. Independently, Putnam proposed something similar, explicitly incorporating modality. A modal-structural synthesis of these ideas is sketched in which obstacles to their formalization are overcome. Extendability principles are formulated and used to motivate many small large cardinals. The use of second-order logic as a coherent and clear (...) framework for set theory is supported. (shrink)
The Everett interpretation of quantum theory requires either the existence of an infinite number of conscious minds associated with each brain or the existence of one universal consciousness. Reasons are given, and the two ideas are compared.
J.C. Nyíri’s work is well-known for his interpretation of Wittgenstein as a conservative thinker. Nevertheless, his reading of Wittgenstein is only one strand, even if presumably the most influential one, in his general interpretation of Austro-Hungarian philosophy. Therefore his reading of Wittgenstein is best understood if viewed as part of a complex, sociologically inspired picture of Austrian philosophy. In this introductory essay I present Nyíri’s work as an exercise in the sociology of philosophical knowledge, broadly understood, and provide (...) a unified view on his attempt by exploring its various strands. (shrink)
This paper argues that ontic structural realism (OSR) faces a dilemma: either it remains on the general level of realism with respect to the structure of a given theory, but then it is, like epistemic structural realism, only a partial realism; or it is a complete realism, but then it has to answer the question how the structure of a given theory is implemented, instantiated or realized and thus has to argue for a particular interpretation of the theory in (...) question. This claim is illustrated by examining how OSR fares with respect to the three main candidates for an ontology of quantum mechanics, namely many worlds-type interpretations, collapse-type interpretations and hidden variable-type interpretations. The result is that OSR as such is not sufficient to answer the question of what the world is like if quantum mechanics is correct. (shrink)
I argue that the many worlds explanation of quantum computation is not licensed by, and in fact is conceptually inferior to, the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics from which it is derived. I argue that the many worlds explanation of quantum computation is incompatible with the recently developed cluster state model of quantum computation. Based on these considerations I conclude that we should reject the many worlds explanation of quantum computation.
This paper presents a new Symmetrical Interpretation (SI) of relativistic quantum mechanics which postulates: quantum mechanics is a theory about complete experiments, not particles; a complete experiment is maximally described by a complex transition amplitude density; and this transition amplitude density never collapses. This SI is compared to the Copenhagen Interpretation (CI) for the analysis of Einstein’s bubble experiment. This SI makes several experimentally testable predictions that differ from the CI, solves one part of the measurement problem, (...) resolves some inconsistencies of the CI, and gives intuitive explanations of some previously mysterious quantum effects. (shrink)
McTaggart's ideas on the unreality of time as expressed in "The Nature of Existence" have retained great interest for many years for scholars, academics and other philosophers. In this essay, there is a brief discussion which mentions some of the high points of this philosophical interest, and goes on to apply his ideas to modern physics and neuroscience. It does not discuss McTaggart's C and D series, but does emphasise how the use of derived versions of both his A (...) and B series can be of great virtue in discussing both the abstract physics of time, and the present and future importance of McTaggart's ideas to the subject of time. Indeed an experiment using human volunteers and dynamic systems modelling which was carried out is described, which illustrates this fact. The ManyBubbleInterpretation, which also derives from McTaggart's ideas, is discussed and various examples of its use and effectiveness are referred to. The Schrodinger Cat paradox is essentially resolved in principle, the quantum Zeno effect interpretable, Kwiat's recent result referred to, and the newly discovered reverse Stickgold effect described. (shrink)
The paper argues that on three out of eight possible hypotheses about the EPR experiment we can construct novel and realistic decision problems on which (a) Causal Decision Theory and Evidential Decision Theory conflict (b) Causal Decision Theory and the EPR statistics conflict. We infer that anyone who fully accepts any of these three hypotheses has strong reasons to reject Causal Decision Theory. Finally, we extend the original construction to show that anyone who gives any of the three hypotheses any (...) non-zero credence has strong reasons to reject Causal Decision Theory. However, we concede that no version of the Many Worlds Interpretation (Vaidman, in Zalta, E.N. (ed.), Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy 2014) gives rise to the conflicts that we point out. (shrink)
The present paper studies the general implications of theprinciple of compositionality for the organization of grammar.It will be argued that Janssen''s (1986) requirement that syntax andsemantics be similar algebras is too strong, and that the moreliberal requirement that syntax be interpretable into semanticsleads to a formalization that can be motivated and applied more easily,while it avoids the complications that encumber Janssen''s formalization.Moreover, it will be shown that this alternative formalization evenallows one to further complete the formal theory of compositionality, inthat (...) it is capable of clarifying the role played by translation,model-theoretic interpretation and meaning postulates,of which the latter two aspects received little or no attention inMontague (1970) and Janssen (1986). (shrink)
The meaning of the wave function and its evolution are investigated. First, we argue that the wave function in quantum mechanics is a description of random discontinuous motion of particles, and the modulus square of the wave function gives the probability density of the particles being in certain locations in space. Next, we show that the linear non-relativistic evolution of the wave function of an isolated system obeys the free Schrödinger equation due to the requirements of spacetime translation invariance and (...) relativistic invariance. Thirdly, we argue that the random discontinuous motion of particles may lead to a stochastic, nonlinear collapse evolution of the wave function. A discrete model of energy-conserved wavefunction collapse is proposed and shown consistent with existing experiments and our macroscopic experience. Besides, we also give a critical analysis of the de Broglie-Bohm theory, the many-worlds interpretation and other dynamical collapse theories, and briefly discuss the issues of unifying quantum mechanics and relativity. (shrink)
We investigate the validity of the field explanation of the wave function by analyzing the mass and charge density distributions of a quantum system. It is argued that a charged quantum system has effective mass and charge density distributing in space, proportional to the square of the absolute value of its wave function. This is also a consequence of protective measurement. If the wave function is a physical field, then the mass and charge density will be distributed in space simultaneously (...) for a charged quantum system, and thus there will exist a remarkable electrostatic self-interaction of its wave function, though the gravitational self-interaction is too weak to be detected presently. This not only violates the superposition principle of quantum mechanics but also contradicts experimental observations. Thus we conclude that the wave function cannot be a description of a physical field. In the second part of this paper, we further analyze the implications of these results for the main realistic interpretations of quantum mechanics, especially for de Broglie-Bohm theory. It has been argued that de Broglie-Bohm theory gives the same predictions as quantum mechanics by means of quantum equilibrium hypothesis. However, this equivalence is based on the premise that the wave function, regarded as a Ψ-field, has no mass and charge density distributions, which turns out to be wrong according to the above results. For a charged quantum system, both Ψ-field and Bohmian particle have charge density distribution. This then results in the existence of an electrostatic self-interaction of the field and an electromagnetic interaction between the field and Bohmian particle, which contradicts both the predictions of quantum mechanics and experimental observations. Therefore, de Broglie-Bohm theory as a realistic interpretation of quantum mechanics is probably wrong. Lastly, we suggest that the wave function is a description of some sort of ergodic motion (e.g. random discontinuous motion) of particles, and we also briefly analyze the implications of this suggestion for other realistic interpretations of quantum mechanics including many-worlds interpretation and dynamical collapse theories. (shrink)
The aim of this dissertation is to clarify the debate over the explanation of quantum speedup and to submit, for the reader's consideration, a tentative resolution to it. In particular, I argue, in this dissertation, that the physical explanation for quantum speedup is precisely the fact that the phenomenon of quantum entanglement enables a quantum computer to fully exploit the representational capacity of Hilbert space. This is impossible for classical systems, joint states of which must always be representable as product (...) states. I begin the dissertation by considering, in Chapter 2, the most popular of the candidate physical explanations for quantum speedup: the many worlds explanation of quantum computation. I argue that, although it is inspired by the neo-Everettian interpretation of quantum mechanics, unlike the latter it does not have the conceptual resources required to overcome objections such as the so-called `preferred basis objection'. I further argue that the many worlds explanation, at best, can serve as a good description of the physical process which takes place in so-called network-based computation, but that it is incompatible with other models of computation such as cluster state quantum computing. I next consider, in Chapter 3, a common component of most other candidate explanations of quantum speedup: quantum entanglement. I investigate whether entanglement can be said to be a necessary component of any explanation for quantum speedup, and I consider two major purported counter-examples to this claim. I argue that neither of these, in fact, show that entanglement is unnecessary for speedup, and that, on the contrary, we should conclude that it is. In Chapters 4 and 5 I then ask whether entanglement can be said to be sufficient as well. In Chapter 4 I argue that despite a result that seems to indicate the contrary, entanglement, considered as a resource, can be seen as sufficient to enable quantum speedup. Finally, in Chapter 5 I argue that entanglement is sufficient to explain quantum speedup as well. (shrink)
We claim that, as it stands, the Deutsch–Wallace–Everett approach to quantum theory is conceptually incoherent. This charge is based upon the approach’s reliance upon decoherence arguments that conflict with its own fundamental precepts regarding probabilistic reasoning in two respects. This conceptual conflict obtains even if the decoherence arguments deployed are aimed merely towards the establishment of certain ‘emergent’ or ‘robust’ structures within the wave function: To be relevant to physical science notions such as robustness must be empirically grounded, and, on (...) our analysis, this grounding can only plausibly be done in precisely the probabilistic terms that lead to conceptual conflict. Thus, the incoherence problems presented necessitate either the provision of a new, non-probabilistic empirical grounding for the notions of robustness and emergence in the context of decoherence, or the abandonment of the Deutsch–Wallace–Everett programme for quantum theory. (shrink)
The Doctor, like many time-travelers, often finds himself in the midst of a causal loop. Events in the future cause events in the past, which in turn cause the future events. There is a worry that a person in this situation could never have true libertarian freedom: facts about the past entail their future actions, so they couldn't do otherwise than they in fact do. -/- In this paper, I argue that there are logically coherent (though perhaps unlikely!) ways (...) of understanding the relationship between human actions and Everett's "many worlds" interpretation of quantum mechanics that could salvage The Doctor's libertarian free will. I show that the existence of a causal loop does not entail that *THE* Doctor will have to do a certain thing, only that *A* Doctor will have to do it. On this interpretation, "free will" might turn out to be the choice, not of what happens in the future, but rather of which future person we are going to be. (shrink)
In terms of Groenendijk and Stokhofs (1984) formalization of exhaustive interpretation, many conversational implicatures can be accounted for. In this paper we justify and generalize this approach. Our justification proceeds by relating their account via Halpern and Moses (1984) non-monotonic theory of only knowing to the Gricean maxims of Quality and the first sub-maxim of Quantity. The approach of Groenendijk and Stokhof (1984) is generalized such that it can also account for implicatures that are triggered in subclauses not (...) entailed by the whole complex sentence. (shrink)
I argue that quantum decoherence—understood as a dynamical process entailed by the standard formalism alone—carries us beyond conceptual aspects of non-relativistic quantum mechanics deemed insurmountable by many contributors to the recent quantum gravity and cosmology literature. These aspects include various incarnations of the measurement problem and of the quantum -to-classical puzzle. Not only can such problems be largely bypassed or dissolved without default to a particular interpretation, but theoretical work in relativistic arenas stands to gain substantial physical and (...) philosophical insight by incorporating decoherence phenomena. (shrink)
Elise Crull claims that by invoking decoherence it is possible to obviate many “fine grained” issues often conflated under the common designation of measurement problem, and to make substantial progresses in the fields of quantum gravity and quantum cosmology, without any early incorporation of a particular interpretation in the quantum formalism. We point out that Crull is mistaken about decoherence and tacitly assumes some kind of interpretation of the quantum formalism.
Abstract -/- Inclusive nonindexical context-dependence occurs when the preferred interpretation of an utterance implies its lexically-derived meaning. It is argued that the corresponding processes of free or lexically mandated enrichment can be modeled as abductive inference. A form of abduction is implemented in Simple Type Theory on the basis of a notion of plausibility, which is in turn regarded a preference relation over possible worlds. Since a preordering of doxastic alternatives taken for itself only amounts to a relatively vacuous (...) ad hoc model, it needs to be combined with a rational way of learning from new evidence. Lexicographic upgrade is implemented as an example of how an agent might revise his plausibility ordering in light of new evidence. Various examples are given how this apparatus may be used to model the contextual resolution of context-dependent or semantically incomplete utterances. The described form of abduction is limited and merely serves as a proof of concept, but the idea in general has good potential as one among many ways to build a bridge between semantics and pragmatics since inclusive context-dependence is ubiquitous. (shrink)
A semantic analysis of mass nouns is given in terms of a logic of classes as many. In previous work it was shown that plural reference and predication for count nouns can be interpreted within this logic of classes as many in terms of the subclasses of the classes that are the extensions of those count nouns. A brief review of that account of plurals is given here and it is then shown how the same kind of (...) class='Hi'>interpretation can also be given for mass nouns. (shrink)
Many advocates of the Everettian interpretation consider that theirs is the only approach to take quantum mechanics really seriously, and that this approach allows to deduce a fantastic scenario for our reality, one that consists of an infinite number of parallel worlds that branch out continuously. In this article, written in dialogue form, we suggest that quantum mechanics can be taken even more seriously, if the many-worlds view is replaced by a many-measurements view. This allows not (...) only to derive the Born rule, thus solving the measurement problem, but also to deduce a one-world non-spatial reality, providing an even more fantastic scenario than that of the multiverse. (shrink)
The interpretation of quantum mechanics is an area of increasing interest to many working physicists. In particular, interest has come from those involved in quantum computing and information theory, as there has always been a strong foundational element in this field. This paper introduces one interpretation of quantum mechanics, a modern ‘many-worlds’ theory, from the perspective of quantum computation. Reasons for seeking to interpret quantum mechanics are discussed, then the specific ‘neo-Everettian’ theory is introduced and its (...) claim as the best available interpretation defended. The main objections to the interpretation, including the so-called “problem of probability” are shown to fail. The local nature of the interpretation is demonstrated, and the implications of this both for the interpretation and for quantum mechanics more generally are discussed. Finally, the consequences of the theory for quantum computation are investigated, and common objections to using many worlds to describe quantum computing are answered. We find that using this particular many-worlds theory as a physical foundation for quantum computation gives several distinct advantages over other interpretations, and over not interpreting quantum theory at all. (shrink)
In 'A Constitution of Many Minds' Cass Sunstein argues that the three major approaches to constitutional interpretation – Traditionalism, Populism and Cosmopolitanism – all rely on some variation of a ‘many-minds’ argument. Here we assess each of these claims through the lens of the Condorcet Jury Theorem. In regard to the first two approaches we explore the implications of sequential influence among courts (past and foreign, respectively). In regard to the Populist approach, we consider the influence of (...) opinion leaders. (shrink)