In defence of the self-location uncertainty account of probability in the many-worlds interpretation

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 66 (C):14-23 (2019)
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We defend the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics against the objection that it cannot explain why measurement outcomes are predicted by the Born probability rule. We understand quantum probabilities in terms of an observer's self-location probabilities. We formulate a probability postulate for the MWI: the probability of self-location in a world with a given set of outcomes is the absolute square of that world's amplitude. We provide a proof of this postulate, which assumes the quantum formalism and two principles concerning symmetry and locality. We also show how a structurally similar proof of the Born rule is available for collapse theories. We conclude by comparing our account to the recent account offered by Sebens and Carroll.



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Author Profiles

Kelvin J. McQueen
Chapman University
Lev Vaidman
Tel Aviv University