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Interpreting the quantum mechanics of cosmology

Wallace, David (2018) Interpreting the quantum mechanics of cosmology. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Quantum theory plays an increasingly significant role in contemporary early-universe cosmology, most notably in the inflationary origins of the fluctuation spectrum of the microwave background radiation. I consider the two main strategies for interpreting (as opposed to modifying or supplementing) standard quantum mechanics in the light of cosmology. I argue that the conceptual difficulties of the approaches based around an irreducible role for measurement - already very severe - become intolerable in a cosmological context, whereas the approach based around Everett's original idea of treating quantum systems as closed systems handles cosmological quantum theory satisfactorily. Contemporary cosmology, which indeed applies standard quantum theory without supplementation or modification, is thus committed - tacitly or explictly - to the Everett interpretation.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Wallace, Daviddmwallac@usc.edu
Additional Information: This is a draft of a chapter that has been accepted for publication by Oxford University Press in the forthcoming book 'Philosophy of Cosmology: an Introduction' edited by A. Ijjas and B. Loewer, due for publication in 2019.
Keywords: Quantum mechanics Quantum cosmology Everett interpretation
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: David Wallace
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2018 15:03
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2018 15:03
Item ID: 15295
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Cosmology
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 2018
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15295

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