The Emergent Multiverse

Discussions on the philosophical foundations, assumptions, and implications of science, including the natural sciences.

The Emergent Multiverse

Postby euni1968 on July 11th, 2013, 4:53 pm 

Hi folks

I am new to this forum, so be gentle!

I am currently reading David Wallace's 'The Emergent Multiverse', in which he argues that the many worlds theory of quantum mechanics is emergent from the basic truths of quantum theory, without any leaps of faith in the argument. His examples of emergent entities are really quite fascinating, and I wonder has anyone else read this book and what views there are of it?

Cheers, Eúni

Re: The Emergent Multiverse

Postby Marshall on July 11th, 2013, 6:32 pm 

I haven't seen Wallace's book. I gather it is focused on the 1957 Everett interpretation of Quantum Mechanics in which reality BRANCHES and the different alternative's actually exist, in one branch the cat is dead and in the other branch the cat is still alive. Reality actually forks at every decision point so all these different ways things could be actually exist

Here's the Amazon page, the book costs around $60 and its current salesrank is around 500,000, so it is not a popular physics book ... 0199546967
If people are unfamiliar with the Everett "branching" of reality, which someone dubbed the "many worlds interpretation" (MWI) of quantum mechanics, they might want to check these free online sources about it:

I can't comment on the book (although I thought the publisher's blurb about it on the Amazon page was interesting). I can comment though regarding MWI. There is no one interpretation that is accepted by experts AFAIK. they keep having conferences on QuantumFoundations and even circulating POLLS about what the specialists in this prefer as their favorite interpretations, and IIRC the Everett MWI is not a majority winner. There is no clear winner. In other words, Wallace may THINK he has a convincing argument that EVERETT's 1957 interpretation is the only right one, but the jury is still out. There was a popular rival called "Consistent Histories" that became popular around 1990 if I remember right. The Foundations people have kept on re-interpreting QM all this time from 1960-2013. They just are not satisfied so they keep trying to make sense of QM.

Lee Smolin has a new explanation of QM (in which things do not branch) from roughly around 2010.
Nobel laureate Gerard 't Hooft has HIS interpretation/explanation of QM (also not branching) that he has been promoting for I don't know how long, maybe since 2005. I heard him give two lectures on it last year at UC Berkeley.

So I would say the problem of making sense of Quantum Mechanics INTERESTS theoretical physicists, but is not in any sense RESOLVED as yet.

Re: The Emergent Multiverse

Postby Watson on July 11th, 2013, 7:44 pm 

With branching off with ever yes/no, this /that decision made there would be an exponentially increasing foam of new realities forming somewhere. Has anyone though about where the energy would come from to make such a branching possible?
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