David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
There has been an intense discussion, albeit largely an implicit one, concerning the inference of causal hypotheses from statistical correlations in quantum mechanics ever since John Bell’s first statement of his notorious theorem in 1966. As is well known, its focus has mainly been the so-called Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (“EPR”) thought experiment, and the ensuing observed correlations in real EPR like experiments. But although implicitly the discussion goes as far back as Bell’s work, it is only in the last two decades that it has become recognizably and explicitly a debate about causal inference in the quantum realm. The bulk of this paper is devoted to a review of three influential arguments in the philosophical literature that aim to show that causal models for the EPR correlations are impossible, due to Bas Van Fraassen, Daniel Hausman and Huw Price. I contend that all these arguments are inconclusive since they contain premises or presuppositions that are false, unwarranted, or at least controversial. Five different common cause models are outlined that seem perfectly viable for the EPR correlations. These models are then employed to illustrate various difficulties with the premises and presuppositions underlying Van Fraassen’s, Hausman’s and Price’s arguments. In all these cases it is argued that the difficulties cut deep against these authors’ own theories of causation and causal inference. My conclusions are that causal models for the EPR correlations remain viable, that philosophical work is still required to assess their relative virtues, and that in any case the mere theoretical conceivability and empirical possibility of these models sheds doubts over Van Fraassen’s, Hausman’s and (important elements in) Price’s theories of causation and causal inference.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Only published papers are available at libraries|
Similar books and articles
Daniel Steel (2005). Indeterminism and the Causal Markov Condition. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (1):3-26.
Brad Weslake (2006). Common Causes and the Direction of Causation. Minds and Machines 16 (3):239-257.
J. Berkovitz (1995). What Econometrics Cannot Teach Quantum Mechanics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 26 (2):163-200.
Cord Friebe (2004). Teilen, Trennen Und Vereinen: EPR Ohne Holismus. [REVIEW] Journal for General Philosophy of Science 35 (2):261 - 281.
Iñaki San Pedro (2012). Causation, Measurement Relevance and No-Conspiracy in EPR. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (1):137-156.
Jeremy Butterfield (1990). Causal Independence in EPR Arguments. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990:213 - 225.
Hasok Chang & Nancy Cartwright (1993). Causality and Realism in the EPR Experiment. Erkenntnis 38 (2):169 - 190.
Mauricio Suárez (2004). Causal Processes and Propensities in Quantum Mechanics. Theoria 19 (3):271-300.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads39 ( #36,166 of 1,004,657 )
Recent downloads (6 months)23 ( #4,136 of 1,004,657 )
How can I increase my downloads?