Uncertainty, Possibility, and Identity

David Wallace

in The Emergent Multiverse

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199546961
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741418 | DOI:
Uncertainty, Possibility, and Identity

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This chapter considers some philosophical problems posed by the Everett interpretation: should someone expecting to undergo quantum-mechanical branching be uncertain about the result of that branching? And how are we to think about identity over time — for people, for objects, and for whole branches — in the face of continual, persistent branching? Using considerations from philosophy of language, the chapter argues for a conservative approach to these questions: properly understood, the Everett interpretation leaves these and other everyday concepts essentially untouched, even as it does violence to what philosophers have normally taken to be their metaphysical underpinnings.

Keywords: Everett interpretation; many worlds; uncertainty; personal identity; principle of charity

Chapter.  13739 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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