The inference from statistical data to causal hypotheses is of great importance in both the natural and social sciences. On the basis of such causal inferences, it is claimed, for example, that the statistical correlation between smoking and contracting cancer is due to the fact that smoking causes cancer: Other things being equal, smoking raises the chance of contracting various types of cancer. Furthermore, we are surrounded by statistical data that, if properly analyzed, can significantly enrich our knowledge of the (...) causal relations between various factors. Consider the Bureau of Statistics. It accumulates an enormous amount of statistical data about various quantities. If we could decipher the causal relations among these quantities, statistical data would be invaluable for policy-making in governmental and public organizations and provide very efficient means for policy monitoring. (shrink)
It is frequently argued that there is a tension between quantum theory and the special theory of relativity, but there are no conclusive arguments for their incompatibility. In this paper I consider two recent arguments for the impossibility of certain types of relativistic quantum theory on the grounds of causal paradoxes, due to Frank Arntzenius and Tim Maudlin. The structure of both arguments is (in effect) similar: if these alleged relativistic theories were true, closed causal loops could easily be constructed, (...) but such loops would exclude the very possibility of these theories. I argue that Arntzenius’s and Maudlin’s lines of reasoning fail because they are based on untenable assumptions about probabilities in causal loops. I also argue that the consistency of the quantum theories under consideration depends on the interpretation of the probabilities they prescribe, and the question of their empirical adequacy requires a metaphysical and empirical investigation into the nature of chances and frequencies in causal loops. (shrink)
The so-called ergodic hierarchy (EH) is a central part of ergodic theory. It is a hierarchy of properties that dynamical systems can possess. Its five levels are egrodicity, weak mixing, strong mixing, Kolomogorov, and Bernoulli. Although EH is a mathematical theory, its concepts have been widely used in the foundations of statistical physics, accounts of randomness, and discussions about the nature of chaos. We introduce EH and discuss how its applications in these fields.
Various processes are often classified as both deterministic and random or chaotic. The main difficulty in analysing the randomness of such processes is the apparent tension between the notions of randomness and determinism: what type of randomness could exist in a deterministic process? Ergodic theory seems to offer a particularly promising theoretical tool for tackling this problem by positing a hierarchy, the so-called ‘ergodic hierarchy’ (EH), which is commonly assumed to provide a hierarchy of increasing degrees of randomness. However, that (...) notion of randomness requires clarification. The mathematical definition of EH does not make explicit appeal to randomness; nor does the usual way of presenting EH involve a specification of the notion of randomness that is supposed to underlie the hierarchy. In this paper we argue that EH is best understood as a hierarchy of random behaviour if randomness is explicated in terms of unpredictability. We then show that, contrary to common wisdom, EH is useful in characterising the behaviour of Hamiltonian dynamical systems. (shrink)
Two of the main interpretative problems in quantum mechanics are the so-called measurement problem and the question of the compatibility of quantum mechanics with relativity theory. Modal interpretations of quantum mechanics were designed to solve both of these problems. They are no-collapse (typically) indeterministic interpretations of quantum mechanics that supplement the orthodox state description of physical systems by a set of possessed properties that is supposed to be rich enough to account for the classical-like behavior of macroscopic systems, but sufficiently (...) restricted so as to avoid the no-hidden-variables theorems. But, as recent no-go theorems suggest, current modal interpretations are incompatible with relativity. In this paper, we suggest a strategy for circumventing these theorems. We then show how this strategy could naturally be integrated in a relational version of the modal interpretation, where quantum-mechanical states assign relational rather than intrinsic properties. (shrink)
Recent no go theorems by Dickson and Clifton (1998), Arntzenius (1998) and Myrvold (2002) demonstrate that current modal interpretations are incompatible with relativity. In this paper we propose strategies for how to circumvent these theorems. We further show how these strategies can be developped into new modal interpretations in which the properties of systems are in general either holistic or relational. We explicitly write down an outline of dynamics for these properties which does not pick out a preferred foliation of (...) spacetime. (shrink)
A common line of argument for the impossibility of closed causal loops is that they would involve causal paradoxes. The usual reply is that such loops impose heavy consistency constraints on the nature of causal connections in them; constraints that are overlooked by the impossibility arguments. Hugh Mellor has maintained that arguments for the possibility of causal loops also overlook some constraints, which are related to the chances (single-case, objective probabilities) that causes give to their effects. And he argues that (...) a consideration of these constraints demonstrates that causal loops are impossible. I consider Mellor's argument and more generally the nature of chance in causal loops. I argue that Mellor's line of reasoning is unwarranted since it is based on untenable premisses about the relation between chances and long-run frequencies in causal loops. Yet, this line of reasoning may still be of interest to those who maintain that causes determine the chances of their effects; for it raises some unresolved questions about the nature of chance in causal loops. (shrink)
The correlations between distant systems in typical quantum situations, such as Einstein-Podolosky-Rosen experiments, strongly suggest that the quantum realm involves curious types of non-Iocal influences. In this paper, I study in detail the nature of these non-Iocal influences, as depicted by various quantum theories. I show how different quantum theories realise non-Iocality in different ways, whichreflect different ontological settings.
In a preceding paper, I studied the significance of Jarrett's and Shimony's analyses of 'factorisability' into 'parameter independence' and 'outcome independence' for clarifying the nature of non-locality in quantum phenomena. I focused on four types of non-locality; superluminal signalling, action-at-a-distance, non-separability and holism. In this paper, I consider a fifth type of non-locality: superluminal causation according to 'logically weak' concepts of causation, where causal dependence requires neither action nor signalling. I conclude by considering the compatibility of non-factorisable theories with relativity (...) theory. In this connection, I pay special attention to the difficulties that superluminal causation raises in relativistic spacetime. My main findings in this paper are: first, parameter-dependent and outcome-dependent theories both involve superluminal causal connections between outcomes and between settings and outcomes. Second, while relativistic deterministic parameter-dependent theories seem impossible on pain of causal paradoxes, relativistic indeterministic parameter-dependent theories are not subjected to the same challenge. Third, current relativistic non-factorisable theories seem to have some rather unattractive characteristics. (shrink)
In this paper and its sequel, I consider the significance of Jarrett's and Shimony's analyses of the so-called factorisability (Bell-locality) condition for clarifying the nature of quantum non-locality. In this paper, I focus on four types of non-locality: superluminal signalling, <span class='Hi'>action</span>-at-a-distance, non-separability and holism. In the second paper, I consider a fifth type of non-locality: superluminal causation according to 'logically weak' concepts of causation, where causal dependence requires neither <span class='Hi'>action</span> nor signalling. In this connection, I pay special attention (...) to the difficulties that superluminal causation raises in relativistic space-time. I conclude by evaluating the relevance of Jarrett's and Shimony's analyses for clarifying the question of the compatibility of quantum non-locality with relativity theory. My main conclusions are, first: these analyses are significant for clarifying the questions of superluminal signalling in quantum phenomena and for the compatibility of these phenomena with relativity. But, second, by contrast: these analyses are not very significant for the study of <span class='Hi'>action</span>-at-a distance, superluminal causation, non-separability and holism in quantum phenomena. (shrink)
Cartwright (1989) and Humphreys (1989) have suggested theories of probabilistic causation for singular events, which are based on modifications of traditional causal linear modelling. On the basis of her theory, Cartwright offered an allegedly local, and non-factorizable, common-cause model for the EPR experiment. In this paper I consider Cartwright's and Humphrey's theories. I argue that, provided plausible assumptions obtain, local models for EPR in the framework of these theories are committed to Bell inequalities, which are violated by experiment.