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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Print Price: $94.00

284 pp.
numerous figures, 138 mm x 216 mm


Publication date:
August 2001

Imprint: OUP UK

The Quantum Mechanics of Minds and Worlds

Jeffrey A. Barrett

Jeffrey Barrett presents the most comprehensive study yet of a problem that has puzzled physicists and philosophers since the 1930s. The standard theory of quantum mechanics is in one sense the most successful physical theory ever, predicting the behaviour of the basic constituents of all physical things; no other theory has ever made such accurate empirical predictions. However, if one tries to understand the theory as providing a complete and accurate framework for the description of the behaviour of all physical interactions, it becomes evident that the theory is ambiguous, or even logically inconsistent. The most notable attempt to formulate the theory so as to deal with this problem, the quantum measurement problem, was initiated by Hugh Everett III in the 1950s. Barrett gives a careful and challenging examination and evaluation of the work of Everett and those who have followed him. His informal approach, minimizing technicality, will make the book accessible and illuminating for philosophers and physicists alike. Anyone interested in the interpretation of quantum mechanics should read it.

Readership : Philosophers and physicists; graduate and advanced students of quantum mechanics or of philosophy of physics.

1. A Brief Introduction
2. The Standard Formulation of Quantum Mechanics
3. The Theory of the Universal Wave Function
4. The Bare Theory and Determinate Experience
5. Selecting a Branch
6. Many Worlds
7. Many Minds
8. Many Histories
9. The Determinate-Experience Problem

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Jeffrey A. Barrett is an Associate Professor of Logic and Philosophy of Science, University of California, Irvine.

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Special Features

  • the most thorough study yet of one of the most important scientific theories ever
  • clearer and less technical than almost all other work on this subject
  • the starting-point for anyone working on the interpretation of quantum mechanics
  • suitable for student use
  • offers much that is original and provocative