Journal Article

Epistemology Quantized: circumstances in which we should come to believe in the Everett interpretation

David Wallace

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 57, issue 4, pages 655-689
Published in print December 2006 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online December 2006 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axl023
Epistemology Quantized: circumstances in which we should come to believe in the Everett interpretation

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I consider exactly what is involved in a solution to the probability problem of the Everett interpretation, in the light of recent work on applying considerations from decision theory to that problem. I suggest an overall framework for understanding probability in a physical theory, and conclude that this framework, when applied to the Everett interpretation, yields the result that that interpretation satisfactorily solves the measurement problem.

Introduction

What is probability?

2.1 Objective probability and the Principal Principle

2.2 Three ways of satisfying the functional definition

2.3 Cautious functionalism

2.4 Is the functional definition complete?

The Everett interpretation and subjective uncertainty

3.1 Interpreting quantum mechanics

3.2 The need for subjective uncertainty

3.3 Saunders' argument for subjective uncertainty

3.4 Objections to Saunders' argument

3.5 Subjective uncertainty again: arguments from interpretative charity

3.6 Quantum weights and the functional definition of probability

Rejecting subjective uncertainty

4.1 The fission program

4.2 Against the fission program

Justifying the axioms of decision theory

5.1 The primitive status of the decision-theoretic axioms

5.2 Holistic scepticism

5.3 The role of an explanation of decision theory

Conclusion

Journal Article.  15122 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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