Abstract It is proposed that the physical structure of an observer in quantum mechanics is constituted by a pattern of elementary localized switching events. A key preliminary step in giving mathematical expression to this proposal is the introduction of an equivalence relation on sequences of spacetime sets which relates a sequence to any other sequence to which it can be deformed without change of causal arrangement. This allows an individual observer to be associated with a finite structure. The identification of suitable switching events in the human brain is discussed. A definition is given for the sets of sequences of quantum states which such an observer could occupy. Finally, by providing an a priori probability for such sets, the definitions are incorporated into a complete mathematical framework for a many-worlds interpretation. At a less ambitious level, the paper can be read as an exploration of some of the technical and conceptual difficulties involved in constructing such a framework.
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