Another Counterexample to Markov Causation from Quantum Mechanics: Single Photon Experiments and the Mach-Zehnder Interferometer

Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 31 (2):17-42 (2017)

The theory of causal Bayes nets [15, 19] is, from an empirical point of view, currently one of the most promising approaches to causation on the market. There are, however, counterexamples to its core axiom, the causal Markov condition. Probably the most serious of these counterexamples are EPR/B experiments in quantum mechanics (cf. [13, 23]). However, these are also the only counterexamples yet known from the quantum realm. One might therefore wonder whether they are the only phenomena in the quantum realm that create problems for causal Bayes nets. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that not only the phenomenon of quantum correlations in EPR/B experiments create problems for causal Bayes nets, but also the temporal evolution of quantum systems, which is described as dualistic by quantum mechanics. For this purpose, it is shown that single photon experiments in a Mach-Zehnder interferometer (MZI) violate the causal Markov condition as well. It is then argued, however, that the Markov violation does not occur under the de Broglie-Bohm interpretation of Bohmian mechanics.
Keywords Mach-Zehnder interferometer  causality  causal Bayes nets  causal Markov condition  screening off  quantum mechanics  Bohmian mechanics
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