David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Erkenntnis 35 (1-3):205 - 231 (1991)
Reichenbach worked in an era when philosophers were hopeful about the unity of science, and particularly about unity of method. He looked for universal tests of causal connectedness that could be applied across disciplines and independently of specific modeling assumptions. The hunt for quantum causes reminds us that his hopes were too optimistic. The mark method is not even a starter in testing for causal links between outcomes in E.P.R., because our background hypotheses about these links are too thin to supply the kind of information we need to put the method into play. When we turn to conventional statistical methods, we have seen that one test proposed — robustness of the conditional probabilities — can be conclusive only when we know that there are no other causal factors at work. In the particular case of E.P.R., it has often been assumed that this antecedent question can be settled by applying Reichenbach's conjunctive fork condition. But that application is in no way free of further modeling assumptions. Cartwright (1989) has shown that the conjunctive fork is only a necessary condition on a common cause under very limiting restrictions (restrictions that take one far from the case of maximal commonality); and she has argued that these special conditions are not satisfied in E.P.R.Finally, even given the assumption that there are no other causes at work, the significance of robustness for E.P.R. is unclear. We need a model which tells us how one outcome would influence the other; without that, there is no way of interpreting the results of the robustness test so that it is decisive. In each of the approaches we discussed, Reichenbach provided the crucial guiding ideas that underlay our construction of a causality test; but the articulation of a specific criterion depends on the other details of the model. What is a criterion for a specific kind of link in one model need not be in another. We have illustrated with robustness and E.P.R., but we take the point to be perfectly general: there are no tests of causality outside of models which already have significant causal structure built in
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James Woodward & Christopher Hitchcock (2003). Explanatory Generalizations, Part I: A Counterfactual Account. Noûs 37 (1):1–24.
Martin R. Jones & Robert K. Clifton (1993). Against Experimental Metaphysics. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 18 (1):295-316.
Vašek Chvátal & Baoyindureng Wu (2012). On Reichenbach's Causal Betweenness. Erkenntnis 76 (1):41-48.
Iñaki San Pedro (2012). Causation, Measurement Relevance and No-Conspiracy in EPR. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (1):137-156.
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