Chapter

Everettian Statistical Inference

David Wallace

in The Emergent Multiverse

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199546961
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741418 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199546961.003.0008
Everettian Statistical Inference

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This chapter extends chapter 5's formal proof into a general discussion of how we should assess evidence — and, in particular, how we should test scientific theories — given the possibility that Everettian quantum mechanics is correct. The chapter proves — initially with informal arguments, but in due course with full mathematical rigor — that rational scientists should treat the branch weights assigned by quantum theory to quantum-mechanical branches exactly as if they were probabilities; as such, the chapter argues, probability is actually on firmer conceptual footing in quantum theory than in classical physics. After a brief digression to consider probability in approaches to quantum theory other than the Everett interpretation, the chapter concludes by placing the work in the broader context of recent work on Everett probability.

Keywords: Everett interpretation; many worlds; probability in quantum theory; statistical inference; decision theory

Chapter.  14620 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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