On modifications of Reichenbach's principle of common cause in light of Bell's theorem


Authors
Eric Cavalcanti
Griffith University
Abstract
Bellʼs 1964 theorem causes a severe problem for the notion that correlations require explanation, encapsulated in Reichenbachʼs principle of common cause. Despite being a hallmark of scientific thought, dropping the principle has been widely regarded as much less bitter medicine than the perceived alternative—dropping relativistic causality. Recently, however, some authors have proposed that modified forms of Reichenbachʼs principle could be maintained even with relativistic causality. Here we break down Reichenbachʼs principle into two independent assumptions—the principle of common cause proper and factorization of probabilities. We show how Bellʼs theorem can be derived from these two assumptions plus relativistic causality and the law of total probability for actual events, and we review proposals to drop each of these assumptions in light of the theorem. In particular, we show that the non-commutative common causes of Hofer-Szabó and Vecsernyés fail to have an analogue of the notion that the common causes can explain the observed correlations. Moreover, we show that their definition can be satisfied trivially by any quantum product state for any quantum correlations. We also discuss how the conditional states approach of Leifer and Spekkens fares in this regard.
Keywords Causation  Bell's theorem  Common causes  Quantum foundations  Bell nonlocality  Philosophy of Physics
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 44,419
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Causality: Models, Reasoning, and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
The Problem of Hidden Variables in Quantum Mechanics.Simon Kochen & E. P. Specker - 1967 - Journal of Mathematics and Mechanics 17:59--87.
Algebraic Quantum Field Theory.Hans Halvorson & Michael Mueger - 2006 - In J. Butterfield & J. Earman (eds.), Handbook of the philosophy of physics. Kluwer Academic Publishers.

View all 8 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Locality, Bell's Theorem, and Quantum Mechanics.Peter Rastall - 1985 - Foundations of Physics 15 (9):963-972.
On Reichenbach's Common Cause Principle and Reichenbach's Notion of Common Cause.G. Hofer-Szabo - 1999 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (3):377-399.
Reichenbach's Paradise.Leszek Wroński - 2014 - De Gruyter Open.
Quantum Nonlocality as an Axiom.Sandu Popescu & Daniel Rohrlich - 1994 - Foundations of Physics 24 (3):379-385.
Philosophical Implications of Bell's Theorem.Niall Shanks - 1987 - Dissertation, University of Alberta (Canada)
Nonlocality Without Nonlocality.Steven Weinstein - 2009 - Foundations of Physics 39 (8):921-936.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2015-09-07

Total views
20 ( #436,289 of 2,271,941 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #205,765 of 2,271,941 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature