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Credence and Chance in Quantum Theory

Earman, John (2017) Credence and Chance in Quantum Theory. [Preprint]

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Abstract

David Lewis' "Principal Principle" is a purported principle of rationality connecting credence and objective chance. Almost all of the discussion of the Principal Principle in the philosophical literature assumes classical probability theory, which is unfortunate since the theory of modern physics that, arguably, speaks most clearly of objective chance is the quantum theory, and quantum probabilities are not classical probabilities. This paper develops an account of how chance works in quantum theory that reveals a connection between credence and quantum chance quite unlike what is envisioned in the philosophical literature: as a theorem of quantum probability, updating a completely additive chance function on a knowledge of chance brings credence into line with chance. The account also suggests a way of construing the Humean supervenience of chance that has the virtue of dissolving some puzzles about the "undermining" of chances. A number of interpretative moves in quantum theory are needed to generate the account of quantum chance on offer here, and they can all be disputed. But engaging in these disputes is part and parcel of naturalized metaphysics, and as such it can be more productive than engaging in the battle of intuitions among analytical metaphysicians about how chance ought to work this and other possible worlds.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Earman, Johnjearman@pitt.edu
Keywords: credence and chance; Lewis' Principal Principle; quantum probability
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: John Earman
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2017 12:54
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2017 12:54
Item ID: 13426
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 13 September 2017
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/13426

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