Objective Probability in Everettian Quantum Mechanics

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Objective Probability in Everettian Quantum Mechanics. / Wilson, Alastair.

In: The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 64, No. 4, 12.2013, p. 709-737.

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@article{4efd03c8d315496887829b1b4ecdfdc6,
title = "Objective Probability in Everettian Quantum Mechanics",
abstract = "David Wallace has given a decision-theoretic argument for the Born Rule in the context of Everettian quantum mechanics (EQM). This approach promises to resolve some long-standing problems with probability in EQM, but it has faced plenty of resistance. One kind of objection (the {\textquoteleft}incoherence problem{\textquoteright}) charges that the requisite notion of decision-theoretic uncertainty is unavailable in the Everettian picture, so that the argument cannot gain any traction; another kind of objection grants the proof{\textquoteright}s applicability and targets the premises. In this article I propose some novel principles connecting the physics of EQM with the metaphysics of modality, and argue that in the resulting framework the incoherence problem does not arise. These principles also help to justify one of the most controversial premises of Wallace{\textquoteright}s argument, {\textquoteleft}branching indifference{\textquoteright}. Absent any a priori reason to align the metaphysics with the physics in some other way, the proposed principles can be adopted on grounds of theoretical utility. The upshot is that Everettians can, after all, make clear sense of objective probability.",
author = "Alastair Wilson",
year = "2013",
month = dec,
doi = "10.1093/bjps/axs022",
language = "English",
volume = "64",
pages = "709--737",
journal = "The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science",
issn = "0007-0882",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",
number = "4",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Objective Probability in Everettian Quantum Mechanics

AU - Wilson, Alastair

PY - 2013/12

Y1 - 2013/12

N2 - David Wallace has given a decision-theoretic argument for the Born Rule in the context of Everettian quantum mechanics (EQM). This approach promises to resolve some long-standing problems with probability in EQM, but it has faced plenty of resistance. One kind of objection (the ‘incoherence problem’) charges that the requisite notion of decision-theoretic uncertainty is unavailable in the Everettian picture, so that the argument cannot gain any traction; another kind of objection grants the proof’s applicability and targets the premises. In this article I propose some novel principles connecting the physics of EQM with the metaphysics of modality, and argue that in the resulting framework the incoherence problem does not arise. These principles also help to justify one of the most controversial premises of Wallace’s argument, ‘branching indifference’. Absent any a priori reason to align the metaphysics with the physics in some other way, the proposed principles can be adopted on grounds of theoretical utility. The upshot is that Everettians can, after all, make clear sense of objective probability.

AB - David Wallace has given a decision-theoretic argument for the Born Rule in the context of Everettian quantum mechanics (EQM). This approach promises to resolve some long-standing problems with probability in EQM, but it has faced plenty of resistance. One kind of objection (the ‘incoherence problem’) charges that the requisite notion of decision-theoretic uncertainty is unavailable in the Everettian picture, so that the argument cannot gain any traction; another kind of objection grants the proof’s applicability and targets the premises. In this article I propose some novel principles connecting the physics of EQM with the metaphysics of modality, and argue that in the resulting framework the incoherence problem does not arise. These principles also help to justify one of the most controversial premises of Wallace’s argument, ‘branching indifference’. Absent any a priori reason to align the metaphysics with the physics in some other way, the proposed principles can be adopted on grounds of theoretical utility. The upshot is that Everettians can, after all, make clear sense of objective probability.

U2 - 10.1093/bjps/axs022

DO - 10.1093/bjps/axs022

M3 - Article

VL - 64

SP - 709

EP - 737

JO - The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

JF - The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

SN - 0007-0882

IS - 4

ER -