PHIL 602 - Seminar in Philosophy of Science
Section: 001 Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics
Term: FA 2008
Subject: Philosophy (PHIL)
Department: LSA Philosophy
Advisory Prerequisites:
Graduate standing.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

An interpretation of quantum mechanics must, at a minimum, explain how we come to experience a determinate result when we measure a system in a linear superposition of states. Many have taken this to require the addition of some new physics to the quantum formalism - either hidden variables or a description of the wave function's collapse. But Hugh Everett famously suggested that we leave the theory as is, and explain our experiences as features of a universal wavefunction which never collapses, even when a measurement is made. Subsequent thinkers have taken him to mean that quantum mechanics describes not one world, but a collection of many interacting worlds. During this decade and the last, this "many-worlds" interpretation has gained acceptance among many physicists and philosophers.
The purpose of this seminar is to survey and criticize several different Everett-inspired interpretations. We will eventually come to focus on the pre-eminent "Oxford reading of Everett." Our discussion of this Oxford interpretation will overlap with general questions about personal identity, decision theory and the metaphysics of middle-sized objects.

PHIL 602 - Seminar in Philosophy of Science
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
M 4:00PM - 6:00PM
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