Many Worlds, the Born Rule, and Self-Locating Uncertainty

In Daniele C. Struppa & Jeffrey M. Tollaksen (eds.), Quantum Theory: A Two-Time Success Story. Springer. pp. 157-169 (2014)
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Abstract

We provide a derivation of the Born Rule in the context of the Everett (Many-Worlds) approach to quantum mechanics. Our argument is based on the idea of self-locating uncertainty: in the period between the wave function branching via decoherence and an observer registering the outcome of the measurement, that observer can know the state of the universe precisely without knowing which branch they are on. We show that there is a uniquely rational way to apportion credence in such cases, which leads directly to the Born Rule. Our analysis generalizes straightforwardly to cases of combined classical and quantum self-locating uncertainty, as in the cosmological multiverse.

Author Profiles

Sean M. Carroll
Johns Hopkins University
Charles Sebens
California Institute of Technology

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