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Branching and Uncertainty

Saunders, Simon and Wallace, David (2007) Branching and Uncertainty. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    Following Lewis, it is widely held that branching worlds differ in important ways from diverging worlds. There is, however, a simple and natural semantics under which sentences uttered in branching worlds have much the same truth conditions as they do in diverging worlds. Under this semantics, whether branching or diverging, speakers cannot say in advance which branch or world is theirs. They are uncertain as to the outcome. This same semantics ensures the truth of utterances typically made about quantum mechanical contingencies, including statements of uncertainty, if the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics is true. The `incoherence problem' of the Everett interpretation, that it can give no meaning to the notion of uncertainty, is thereby solved.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: branching, diverging, overlapping worlds, Lewis, quantum mechanics, Everett, many worlds interpretation
    Subjects: General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
    Depositing User: simon saunders
    Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2007
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:15
    Item ID: 3383
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/3383

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