*Jeffrey A. Barrett*

- Published in print:
- 2019
- Published Online:
- July 2020
- ISBN:
- 9780198844686
- eISBN:
- 9780191889196
- Item type:
- chapter

- Publisher:
- Oxford University Press
- DOI:
- 10.1093/oso/9780198844686.003.0010
- Subject:
- Philosophy, Philosophy of Science

We consider a number of radically different ways that Everett’s pure wave mechanics has been understood. Each of these reconstructions aims to provide a stronger variety of empirical adequacy than ...
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We consider a number of radically different ways that Everett’s pure wave mechanics has been understood. Each of these reconstructions aims to provide a stronger variety of empirical adequacy than Everett’s own formulation of the theory. Among the alternative formulations of quantum mechanics we consider are splitting worlds, decohering worlds, many minds, many threads, and many maps. Each of these differs in its metaphysical commitments and, hence, in how it explains determinate measurement records and probabilities. We focus, in particular, on the problem of accounting for the standard quantum probabilities. To this end, we consider the relationship between typicality and probability and contrast synchronic and forward-looking probabilities. We conclude with a brief discussion of epistemological, pragmatic, and information-theoretic formulations of quantum mechanics. A recurring issue in this chapter concerns what it should mean for a physical theory to be empirically adequate.Less

We consider a number of radically different ways that Everett’s pure wave mechanics has been understood. Each of these reconstructions aims to provide a stronger variety of empirical adequacy than Everett’s own formulation of the theory. Among the alternative formulations of quantum mechanics we consider are splitting worlds, decohering worlds, many minds, many threads, and many maps. Each of these differs in its metaphysical commitments and, hence, in how it explains determinate measurement records and probabilities. We focus, in particular, on the problem of accounting for the standard quantum probabilities. To this end, we consider the relationship between typicality and probability and contrast synchronic and forward-looking probabilities. We conclude with a brief discussion of epistemological, pragmatic, and information-theoretic formulations of quantum mechanics. A recurring issue in this chapter concerns what it should mean for a physical theory to be empirically adequate.

*Jeffrey A. Barrett*

- Published in print:
- 2019
- Published Online:
- July 2020
- ISBN:
- 9780198844686
- eISBN:
- 9780191889196
- Item type:
- book

- Publisher:
- Oxford University Press
- DOI:
- 10.1093/oso/9780198844686.001.0001
- Subject:
- Philosophy, Philosophy of Science

The book starts with a description of classical mechanics then discusses the quantum phenomena that require us to give up our commonsense classical intuitions. We consider the physical and conceptual ...
More

The book starts with a description of classical mechanics then discusses the quantum phenomena that require us to give up our commonsense classical intuitions. We consider the physical and conceptual arguments that led to the standard von Neumann-Dirac formulation of quantum mechanics and how the standard theory explains quantum phenomena. This includes a discussion of how the theory’s two dynamical laws work with the standard interpretation of states to explain determinate measurement records, quantum statistics, interference effects, entanglement, decoherence, and quantum nonlocality. A careful understanding of how the standard theory works ultimately leads to the quantum measurement problem. We consider how the measurement problem threatens the logical consistency of the standard theory then turn to a discussion of the main proposals for resolving it. This includes collapse formulations of quantum mechanics like Wigner’s extension of the standard theory and the GRW approach and no-collapse formulations like pure wave mechanics, the various many-worlds theories, and Bohmian mechanics. In discussing alternative formulations of quantum mechanics we pay particular attention to the explanatory role played by each theory’s empirical ontology and associated metaphysical commitments and the conceptual trade-offs between theoretical options.Less

The book starts with a description of classical mechanics then discusses the quantum phenomena that require us to give up our commonsense classical intuitions. We consider the physical and conceptual arguments that led to the standard von Neumann-Dirac formulation of quantum mechanics and how the standard theory explains quantum phenomena. This includes a discussion of how the theory’s two dynamical laws work with the standard interpretation of states to explain determinate measurement records, quantum statistics, interference effects, entanglement, decoherence, and quantum nonlocality. A careful understanding of how the standard theory works ultimately leads to the quantum measurement problem. We consider how the measurement problem threatens the logical consistency of the standard theory then turn to a discussion of the main proposals for resolving it. This includes collapse formulations of quantum mechanics like Wigner’s extension of the standard theory and the GRW approach and no-collapse formulations like pure wave mechanics, the various many-worlds theories, and Bohmian mechanics. In discussing alternative formulations of quantum mechanics we pay particular attention to the explanatory role played by each theory’s empirical ontology and associated metaphysical commitments and the conceptual trade-offs between theoretical options.