The Emergent Multiverse: Quantum Theory according to the Everett Interpretation

Paperback | May 22, 2014

byDavid Wallace

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The Emergent Multiverse presents a striking new account of the 'many worlds' approach to quantum theory. The point of science, it is generally accepted, is to tell us how the world works and what it is like. But quantum theory seems to fail to do this: taken literally as a theory of the world,it seems to make crazy claims: particles are in two places at once; cats are alive and dead at the same time. So physicists and philosophers have often been led either to give up on the idea that quantum theory describes reality, or to modify or augment the theory. The Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics takes the apparent craziness seriously, and asks, 'what would it be like if particles really were in two places at once, if cats really were alive and dead at the same time'? The answer, it turns out, is that if the world were like that--if it were asquantum theory claims--it would be a world that, at the macroscopic level, was constantly branching into copies--hence the more sensationalist name for the Everett interpretation, the 'many worlds theory'. But really, the interpretation is not sensationalist at all: it simply takes quantum theoryseriously, literally, as a description of the world. Once dismissed as absurd, it is now accepted by many physicists as the best way to make coherent sense of quantum theory.David Wallace offers a clear and up-to-date survey of work on the Everett interpretation in physics and in philosophy of science, and at the same time provides a self-contained and thoroughly modern account of it--an account which is accessible to readers who have previously studied quantum theoryat undergraduate level, and which will shape the future direction of research by leading experts in the field.

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The Emergent Multiverse presents a striking new account of the 'many worlds' approach to quantum theory. The point of science, it is generally accepted, is to tell us how the world works and what it is like. But quantum theory seems to fail to do this: taken literally as a theory of the world,it seems to make crazy claims: particles ar...

David Wallace was born in San Rafael, California, in 1976, but has been resident in the UK since 1977. He studied theoretical physics at Oxford University from 1994-2002, but upon realising his research interests lay mostly in conceptual and foundational aspects of physics, he moved across into philosophy of physics. For the last six ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:548 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.68 inPublished:May 22, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198707541

ISBN - 13:9780198707547

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsIntroductionPart I: The Plurality of Worlds1. The Paradox of Measurement2. The emergence of multiplicity3. Chaos, decoherence, and branchingFirst InterludePart II: Probability in a Branching Universe4. The Probability Puzzle5. Symmetry, rationality, and the Born Rule6. Everettian statistical inferenceSecond InterludePart III: Quantum Mechanics, Everett style7. Uncertainty, Possibility, and Identity8. Spacetime and the Quantum State9. The Direction of Branching and the Direction of Time10. A Cornucopia of Everettian ConsequencesConclusionEpilogueAppendicesA. Proof of the Branching-Decoherence TheoremB. Classical decision theoryC. Formal proofs of decision-theoretic resultsD. Proof of the Utility Equivalence LemmaBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`Nobody has done more to defend, clarify and advance the Everett interpretation over the past dozen years than Wallace, and this book is the culmination of his work on this area. As those who have read Wallace's articles will expect, it is an excellent book, and should be required reading foranyone interested in the foundations of quantum mechanics. 'Peter J. Lewis, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews