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Branching and Uncertainty

Saunders, Simon and Wallace, David (2008) Branching and Uncertainty. [Preprint]

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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 ordinary sentences uttered in branching worlds have much the same truth values as they conventionally have 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
Saunders, Simon
Wallace, David
Additional Information: This is a revised version of the paper of the same name deposited on 12 June 2007, as it will appear in the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
Keywords: Everett, many worlds, Branching, Probability, quantum mechanics
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: simon saunders
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2008
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:16
Item ID: 3811

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