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The Everett interpretation

Recording Details

Speaker(s): 
Collection/Series: 
PIRSA Number: 
07090069

Abstract

I shall present an overview of quantum mechanics in the Everett interpretation, that emphasises its structural characteristics, as a theory of what exists. In this respect it shares common ground with other fundamental theories in physics. As such its appeal is conservative; it makes do with the purely unitary equations of quantum mechanics as exceptionless and universal. It also makes do with standard methods for extracting \'high level\' or \'emergent\' ontology, the furniture of macroscopic worlds, from largish molecules on up. It would appeal all the more if it made do with standard epistemological principles too - for example, in the context of inductive statistical confirmation, with standard Bayesian epistemology. But this links to the question of the interpretation of probability in the Everett interpretation, and here the theory seems anything but conservative. It is a common complaint that the approach leaves no room at all for talk of uncertainty. I shall argue, again on conservative interpretative practises, that this claim is incorrect. Chance events are, indeed, revealed in a surprising light - as quantum branchings - but they are the more perspicuous, and their properties and quantitative measure better explained, in light of that.