Discuss Chapter 4 of Many Worlds by Maudlin

We choose one philosophical book per month to read. Then we discuss it as a group.

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UPCOMING BOOK

June 2017: The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus


Which best describes your reaction to the arguments and claims in chapter 4 of Many Worlds??

utterly disagree
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mostly disagree
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mostly agree
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utterly agree
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Discuss Chapter 4 of Many Worlds by Maudlin

Post Number:#1  Postby Scott » July 17th, 2012, 1:22 am

Please use this topic to discuss Can the World be Only Wavefunction? by Tim Maudlin, which is chapter 4 of the July book of the month Many Worlds?: Everett, Quantum Theory, & Reality edited by Saunders, Barrett, Kent, Wallace. We are discussing this book chapter-by-chapter, including a discussion for the introduction and the transcript at the end. Please do not post in this topic until you have read chapter 4.

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What do you think of this chapter? What do you think of Maudlin's ideas and arguments? If you chose mostly disagree or utterly disagree for the poll, then on what specifically do you disagree with Maudlin?

This was my favorite chapter so far. For two reasons mainly. Firstly, I think I simply agree more with Maudlin's ideas. But also I found the writing to be more understandable and flow more regularly and to be more engaging. What I found to be his overall points and theme I find very agreeable which is the idea of slowing down on making so many interpretive conclusions even if it means admitting some ignorance or even believing in some fundamental incomprehensibility of the real world. In this way, I felt this article takes a more critical approach then the previous chapters which I felt did a lot of trying to support propositions including ontological ones. I hope to read more by Tim Maudlin.

I also agree with the proposed similarities between high-density GRW and regular old Many Worlds; in fact I would have taken it as a given even if Maudlin hadn't spelled it out.

One point I find especially intriguing from the earlier part of the chapter is when he is discussion the infamous topic of Schrodinger's cat in Maudlin writes:

To assume that that particular region 'corresponds to' or 'represents' or 'is associated with' cats at all (much less 'half-alive, half-dead' cats) is to grant the association of points in the space with configurations. This in posing what is commonly taken to be the central interpretive problem, one is making the more fundamental one.


I think that is a wise point. I also think it again speaks to the overall theme of slowing down on making propositions and ontological claims and being willing to admit some human ignorance or possible fundamental incomprehensibity, or in other words that we mustn't let our desire for explanations lead us to jump to quickly to forming explanations -- even if only embryonic explanations -- one reason being that in our rush we may forget they can create more things to explain than they themselves explain.

Anyway, overall I really like this essay. What do you all think?
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