Causal processes and propensities in quantum mechanics

Theoria 19 (3):271-300 (2004)
In an influential article published in 1982, Bas Van Fraassen developed an argument against causal realism on the basis of an analysis of the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen correlations of quantum mechanics. Several philosophers of science and experts in causal inference -including some causal realists like Wesley Salmon- have accepted Van Fraassen’s argument, interpreting it as a proof that the quantum correlations cannot be given any causal model. In this paper I argue that Van Fraassen’s article can also be interpreted as a good guide to the different causal models available for the EPR correlations, and their relative virtues. These models in turn give us insight into some of the unusual features that quantum propensicies might have.
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DOI theoria20041933
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