Retrocausal Models for EPR

Studies in the History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 49:1-9 (2015)
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Abstract

This paper takes up Huw Price׳s challenge to develop a retrocausal toy model of the Bell-EPR experiment. I develop three such models which show that a consistent, local, hidden-variables interpretation of the EPR experiment is indeed possible, and which give a feel for the kind of retrocausation involved. The first of the models also makes clear a problematic feature of retrocausation: it seems that we cannot interpret the hidden elements of reality in a retrocausal model as possessing determinate dispositions to affect the outcome of experiments. This is a feature which Price has embraced, but Gordon Belot has argued that this feature renders retrocausal interpretations “unsuitable for formal development”, and the lack of such determinate dispositions threatens to undermine the motivation for hidden-variables interpretations in the first place. But Price and Belot are both too quick in their assessment. I show that determinate dispositions are indeed consistent with retrocausation. What is more, I show that the ontological economy allowed by retrocausation holds out the promise of a classical understanding of spin and polarization.

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Richard Corry
University of Tasmania

References found in this work

Causality and properties.Sydney Shoemaker - 1980 - In Peter van Inwagen (ed.), Time and Cause. D. Reidel. pp. 109-35.
Finkish dispositions.David Kellogg Lewis - 1997 - Philosophical Quarterly 47 (187):143-158.
Dispositional essentialism.Brian Ellis & Caroline Lierse - 1994 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 72 (1):27 – 45.

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