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Ontology & Quantum Mechanics

Wednesday, May 25, 2050

Ontology & Quantum Mechanics

This blog is an experimental way to discuss topics in philosophy of physics, especially interpretation of quantum mechanics (QM), and some philosophy of mind.

I tend to support the many worlds interpretation (MWI) of QM, and computationalist philosophy of mind. However, I try to be objective and lay out the difficulties clearly.

I welcome comments and criticism. However, if you think that mainstream physics is nonsense and that you are a lone genius, please go elsewhere until you learn some physics.

Jacques Mallah, PhD. (jackmallah@yahoo.com)

Table of Posts:
Ontology & Quantum Mechanics

Chapter 1: Basics of Quantum Mechanics

1.1. Simple proof of Bell's Theorem

1.2. Why MWI?
1.3. Top 12 things to know about physics
1.4. on external links
1.5. Studying Quantum Mechanics: the Delayed Choice example
1.6. Key definitions for QM: Part 1
1.7. Key definitions for QM: Part 2
1.8. Key definitions for QM: Part 3
1.9. Studying Quantum Mechanics: Measurement and Conservation Laws
1.10 Studying Quantum Mechanics: Decoherence, Macroscopic Superpositions, and the 'Preferred-Basis Problem'
1.11. Further Study

Chapter 2: Probability in Many Worlds Interpretations

I. Interlude: Anticipating the 2007 Many Worlds conference
II. Interlude: The 2007 Perimeter Institute conference Many Worlds @ 50

2.1. Meaning of Probability in an MWI
2.2. Why do Anthropic arguments work?
2.3. What to maximize when guessing right for a higher percentage of people (on average) means guessing right for fewer people (on average)

2.4. Measure of Consciousness versus Probability
2.5. Why 'Quantum Immortality' is false
2.6. Early attempts to derive the Born Rule in the MWI
2.7. Decision Theory & other approaches to the MWI Born Rule problem, 1999-2009
2.8. MWI proposals that include modifications of physics
2.9. The Computationalist approach to Measure
2.10. "Vertical" versus "Horizontal" approaches to Observer-Counting for Many-Worlds QM

III. Tangent: On Dualism
IV. Tangent: The Everything Hypothesis: Its Predictions and Problems

Chapter 3: Making Computationalism Precise

3.1. Basic idea of an implementation
3.2. The Putnam-Searle-Chalmers theorem
3.3. Restrictions on mappings 1: Independence and Inheritance
3.4. Restrictions on mappings 2: Transference
3.5. Causation, Activity, and Computation

V. Tangent: The Partial Brain thought experiment

3.6. Counting implementations: The Problem of Size
3.7. Linear dynamics, independence, & noise
3.8. Counting implementations: proposal 1: Substate-style criterion
3.9. Counting implementations: proposal 2: Just allow any starting states
3.10. Counting implementations: proposal 3: Use different physical ranges
3.11. Implications for quantum mechanics
3.12. Possible changes to the model of physics
3.13. The problem of Boltzmann Brains

3.14. Implications for artificial intelligence

VI. Tangent: Ideas on quantum gravity
- The problem of time and reference frames
- Indiscernibles are Not Identical
- The pseudo-Heisenberg-operator possible ontology

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My related eprints:

Structure and Dynamics in Implementation of Computations
This is my paper about implementation of computations which appears in the proceedings of the 7th AISB Symposium on Computing and Philosophy (2014). It is largely compatible with the ideas presented on this blog, but contains a few other ideas and explanations.

The Many Computations Interpretation (MCI) of Quantum Mechanics
This is my 2007 eprint explaining my ideas on the Many-Worlds Interpretation of QM. It applies computationalism to QM and in order to do so first covers some of the same material as 'Structure and Dynamics' though the latter is more up to date. I intend to create another paper which focuses more on the application to QM and which should incorporate more thinking on the issue.

Many-Worlds Interpretations Can Not Imply 'Quantum Immortality'
This is my 2009 (revised 2011) refutation of the 'Quantum Immortality' fallacy. It includes a thorough discussion of how measure of consciousness relates to effective probabilities, though some of the material is somewhat dated. I intend to revise it to increase its clarity, while also updating the section on anthropic probability to reflect the material discussed in post 2.3 above.

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