One of the interpretations of quantum mechanics is the Many Worlds Interpretation which basically states that the universe as a whole develops like an unobserved quantum system, and any observation effects ("collapse of the wave function") are illusions which are caused by the observer getting entangled with the observed system, which effectively causes a split of his world into many worlds, one for each measurement outcome.

Most physicists are against this theory because those other worlds are, by definition, unobservable, and thus violate the common positivist view. However I'd be interested in what philosophers (especially non-positivist ones) think about that interpretation. Is it philosophically sound, or does it have fundamental problems?

  • 2
    Since these other worlds are unobservable, the question of whether or not they exist is moot. A thing which exists but which cannot be observed has the same effects and influence as something which doesn't exist at all. Sep 24 '12 at 23:23
  • I suspect if such many universes outcomes are possible, then each of the units (in terms of quanta, atoms, protons,neutrons, electrons, quarks etc.) of mass undergoing observation symmetry breaking, i.e where the state of the system diverges from superposition to simultaneous distinct outcomes, has a universe of its own. Bot I do not think this is true myself though. I used to a believer pf many universes too, but there is a flaw somewhere in it I think.
    – user2452
    Oct 6 '12 at 6:09
  • Plenty of philosophies have dreamt of other worlds than jsut the world we live in, but they're not backed by such heavy mathematical/physical formalism. Which may or may not be an advantage depending on your point of view. Feb 16 '13 at 17:06
  • The many worlds interpretation in my opinion fails to address the fact that we only are conscious of one alternative and not the whole multiverse of alternatives. This is a serious draback of the interpretation. In other words collapse seems real
    – Nikos M.
    Oct 31 at 15:08

According to the PBR theorem, since the quantum wavefunction has been directly measured as a real physical object, the vision of the universe no longer can be considered psi-epimestic (merely information contained in the quantum wavefunction). The possible remained alternatives are psi-ontics (real objects outside our conciousness) or psi-ontic-epistemics (information with an objective underlying reality) Thus, the Copenhagen interpretation was shifted in favour of the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI). In MWI you can imagine yourself living in infinite copies of yourself, one for each possible universe, with infinite outcomes. Therefore, if in this universe you are the Dalai Lama, then in another universe you are Adolf Hitler. In my humble opinion, that's one more reason to believe that quantum mechanics theory should not be extended to our common macro reality and our human beliefs, otherwise we risk to fall into an absolute relativism and our life could stick to just a random nonsense. That's why I blame quantum mysticism or, in general, theories which want to merge science and religion. Nevertheless, science is falsifiable, as stated by Karl Popper. Thus, even quantum religions should be forced to review their statements, and that is a nonsense too. That's why I do not trust too much New Age an other quantum woo beliefs.

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