The paper puts forward a theory of historical modalities that is framed in terms of possible continuations rather than possible worlds or histories. The proposal is tested as a semantic theory for a language with historical modalities, tenses, and indexicals.
Indeterminism, understood as a notion that an event may be continued in a few alternative ways, invokes the question what a region of chanciness looks like. We concern ourselves with its topological and spatiotemporal aspects, abstracting from the nature or mechanism of chancy processes. We first argue that the question arises in Montague-Lewis-Earman conceptualization of indeterminism as well as in the branching tradition of Prior, Thomason and Belnap. As the resources of the former school are not rich enough to study (...) topological issues, we investigate the question in the framework of branching space-times of Belnap (Synthese 92:385–434, 1992). We introduce a topology on a branching model as well as a topology on a history in a branching model. We define light-cones and assume four conditions that guarantee the light-cones so defined behave like light-cones of physical space-times. From among various topological separation properties that are relevant to our question, we investigate the Hausdorff property. We prove that each history in a branching model satisfies the Hausdorff property. As for the satisfaction of the Hausdorff property in the entire branching model, we prove that it is related to the phenomenon of passive indeterminism, which we describe in detail. (shrink)
We show that truth conditions for counterfactuals need not always be given in terms of a vague notion of similarity. To this end, we single out the important class of historical counterfactuals and give formally rigorous truth conditions for these counterfactuals, employing a partial ordering relation called "comparative closeness" that is defined in the framework of branching space-times. Among other applications, we provide a detailed analysis of counterfactuals uttered in the context of lost bets. In an appendix we compare our (...) theory with the branching space-times based reading of counterfactuals recently proposed by Belnap. (shrink)
The paper extends the framework of outcomes in branching space-time (Kowalski and Placek ) by assigning probabilities to outcomes of events, where these probabilities are interpreted either epistemically or as weighted possibilities. In resulting models I define the notion of common cause of correlated outcomes of a single event, and investigate which setups allow for the introduction of common causes. It turns out that a deterministic common cause can always be introduced, but (surprisingly) only special setups permit the introduction of (...) truly stochastic common causes. I analyse next the Bell-Aspect experiment and derive the Bell-CH inequalities. I observe that we postulate there not a common cause for outcomes of a single event but rather a common common cause that accounts for outcomes of many events, where 'events' mean 'measurements with (different) directions of polarization'. Since the inequalities are violated, I claim that no causal story can be told about the Bell correlations, where causality is subliminal and restricted by screening-off condition. Similarly, given certain intuitive principles, no deterministic story can be told about these correlations. (shrink)
The article puts forward a branching-style framework for the analysis of determinism and indeterminism of scientific theories, starting from the core idea that an indeterministic system is one whose present allows for more than one alternative possible future. We describe how a definition of determinism stated in terms of branching models supplements and improves current treatments of determinism of theories of physics. In these treatments, we identify three main approaches: one based on the study of equations, one based on mappings (...) between temporal realizations, and one based on branching models. We first give an overview of these approaches and show that current orthodoxy advocates a combination of the mapping- and the equations-based approaches. After giving a detailed formal explication of a branching-based definition of determinism, we consider three concrete applications and end with a formal comparison of the branching- and the mapping-based approach. We conclude that the branching-based definition of determinism most usefully combines formal clarity, connection with an underlying philosophical notion of determinism, and relevance for the practical assessment of theories. 1 Introduction2 Determinism in Philosophy of Science: Three Approaches2.1 Determinism: The core idea and how to spell it out2.2 The three approaches in more detail2.3 Representing indeterminism3 Orthodoxy: DMAP, with Invocations of DEQN4 Branching-Style Determinism 4.1 Models and realizations4.2 Faithfulness4.3 Two types of branching topologies 5 Comparing the Approaches5.1 Case studies5.2 Formal comparison of the DMAP and DBRN frameworks6 Conclusions. (shrink)
The article investigates the relations between Hausdorff and non-Hausdorff manifolds as objects of general relativity. We show that every non-Hausdorff manifold can be seen as a result of gluing together some Hausdorff manifolds. In the light of this result, we investigate a modal interpretation of a non-Hausdorff differential manifold, according to which it represents a bundle of alternative space-times, all of which are compatible with a given initial data set.
Since the validity of Bell's inequalities implies the existence of joint probabilities for non-commuting observables, there is no universal consensus as to what the violation of these inequalities signifies. While the majority view is that the violation teaches us an important lesson about the possibility of explanations, if not about metaphysical issues, there is also a minimalist position claiming that the violation is to be expected from simple facts about probability theory. This minimalist position is backed by theorems due to (...) A. Fine and I. Pitowsky.Our paper shows that the minimalist position cannot be sustained. To this end,we give a formally rigorous interpretation of joint probabilities in thecombined modal and spatiotemporal framework of `stochastic outcomes inbranching space-time' (SOBST) (Kowalski and Placek, 1999; Placek, 2000). We show in this framework that the claim that there can be no joint probabilities fornon-commuting observables is incorrect. The lesson from Fine's theorem is notthat Bell's inequalities will be violated anyhow, but that an adequate modelfor the Bell/Aspect experiment must not define global joint probabilities. Thus we investigate the class of stochastic hidden variable models, whichprima facie do not define such joint probabilities. The reasonwhy these models fail supports the majority view: Bell's inequalities are notjust a mathematical artifact. (shrink)
The paper intends to provide an algebraic framework in which subluminal causation can be analysed. The framework merges Belnap's 'outcomes in branching time' with his 'branching space-time' (BST). it is shown that an important structure in BST, called 'family of outcomes of an event', is a boolean algebra. We define next non-stochastic common cause and analyse GHZ-Bell theorems. We prove that there is no common cause that accounts for results of GHZ-Bell experiment but construct common causes for two other quantum (...) mechanical setups. Finally, we investigate why some setups allow for common causes whereas other setups do not. (shrink)
The paper develops a theory of branching spatiotemporal histories that accommodates indeterminism and the insights of general relativity. A model of this theory can be viewed as a collection of overlapping histories, where histories are defined as maximal consistent subsets of the model's base set. Subsequently, generalized manifolds are constructed on the theory's models, and the manifold topology is introduced. The set of histories in a model turns out to be identical with the set of maximal subsets of the model's (...) base set with respect to being Hausdorff and downward closed. Further postulates ensure that the topology is connected, locally Euclidean, and satisfies the countable sub-cover condition. (shrink)
Since the validity of Bell's inequalities implies the existence of joint probabilities for non-commuting observables, there is no universal consensus as to what the violation of these inequalities signifies. While the majority view is that the violation teaches us an important lesson about the possibility of explanations, if not about metaphysical issues, there is also a minimalist position claiming that the violation is to be expected from simple facts about probability theory. This minimalist position is backed by theorems due to (...) A. Fine and I. Pitowsky. Our paper shows that the minimalist position cannot be sustained. To this end, we give a formally rigorous interpretation of joint probabilities in the combined modal and spatiotemporal framework of 'stochastic outcomes in branching space-time'. We show in this framework that the claim that there can be no joint probabilities for non-commuting observables is incorrect. The lesson from Fine's theorem is not that Bell's inequalities will be violated anyhow, but that an adequate model for the Bell/Aspect experiment must not define global joint probabilities. Thus we investigate the class of stochastic hidden variable models, which prima facie do not define such joint probabilities. The reason why these models fail supports the majority view: Bell's inequalities are not just a mathematical artifact. (shrink)
We investigate the concepts of past, present, and future that build upon a modal distinction between the settled past and the open future. The concepts are defined in terms of a pre-causal ordering and of qualitative differences between alternative histories. Finally, we look what an event's past, present, and future look like in the so-called Minkowskian Branching Structures, in which histories are isomorphic to Minkowski spacetime.
The paper describes two approaches to determinism: one focuses on the features of global objects, such as possible worlds or models of a theory, whereas the other’s concern is the possible behaviour of individual objects. It then gives an outline of an individuals-based analysis of the determinism of theories. Finally, a general relativistic spacetime with non-isometric extensions is described and used to illustrate a conflict between the two approaches: this spacetime is indeterministic by the first approach but deterministic by the (...) second approach. (shrink)
We assess Cartwright's models for probabilistic causality and, in particular, her models for EPR-like experiments of quantum mechanics. Our first objection is that, contrary to econometric linear models, her quasi-linear models do not allow for the unique estimation of parameters. We next argue that although, as Cartwright proves, Reichenbach's screening-off condition has only limited validity, her generalized condition is not empirically applicable. Finally, we show that her models for the EPR are mathematically incorrect and physically implausible.
My aim in this paper is to investigate the notions of comparative similarity definable in the framework of branching space-times. A notion of this kind is required to give a rigorous Lewis-style semantics of space-time counterfactuals, which is the task undertaken by Thomas Muller (PITT-PHIL-SCI00000509, this archive). In turn, the semantical analysis is needed to decide whether the recently proposed proofs of the non-locality of quantum mechanics are correct. From among the three notions of comparative similarity I select two which (...) appear equally good as far as their intuitiveness and algebraic properties are concerned. However, the relations are not transitive, and thus cannot be used in the semantics proposed by (Lewis 1973), which requires transitivity. Yet they are adequate for the account of (Lewis 1981). (shrink)
The possibility question concerns the status of possibilities: do they form an irreducible category of the external reality, or are they merely features of our cognitive framework? If fundamental physics is ever to shed light on this issue, it must be done by some future theory that unifies insights of general relativity and quantum mechanics. The paper investigates one programme of this kind, namely the causal sets programme, as it apparently considers alternative developments of a given system. To evaluate this (...) claim, we prove some algebraic facts about the sequential growth of causal sets. These facts tell against alternative developments, given that causal sets are understood as particular events. We thus interpret causal sets as multi-realisable objects, like states. This interpretation, however, is undermined by an argument for the probabilistic constraint of general covariance, as it says that multiple paths along which a causal set is produced are not physically different. (shrink)
The paper develops models of statistical experiments that combine propensities with frequencies, the underlying theory being the branching space-times (BST) of Belnap (1992). The models are then applied to analyze Bell's theorem. We prove the so-called Bell-CH inequality via the assumptions of a BST version of Outcome Independence and of (non-probabilistic) No Conspiracy. Notably, neither the condition of probabilistic No Conspiracy nor the condition of Parameter Independence is needed in the proof. As the Bell-CH inequality is most likely experimentally falsified, (...) the choice is this: contrary to the appearances, experimenters cannot choose some measurement settings, or some transitions, with spacelike related initial events, are correlated; or both. (shrink)
We assess Cartwright's models for probabilistic causality, and in particular, her models for EPR-like experiments of quantum mechanics. We show that her models for the EPR are mathematically incorrect and physically implausible. Finally, we argue that her models are not adequate for EPR-phenomena, since they ignore modal and spatiotemporal aspects inherent in their setup.
Against the background of the theory of branching space-times (BST), the paper sketches a concept of individuals. It discusses Kripkean modal intuitions concerning individuation, and, finally it addresses Lewis’s objections to branching individuals.
One diagnosis of Bell's theorem is that its premise of Outcome Independence is unreasonably strong, as it postulates one common screener system that purports to explain all the correlations involved. This poses a challenge of constructing a model for quantum correlations that is local, non-conspiratorial, and has many separate screener systems rather than one common screener system. In particular, the assumptions of such models should not entail Bell's inequalities. We prove that the models described do not exist, and hence, the (...) diagnosis above is incorrect. (shrink)
Members of Vienna Circle explicated determinism in terms of predictability in principle, or calculability. This paper attempts to uncover the rationale for this explication. It argues that the explication was an attempt to escape trivialization arguments; another important factor was the Circle’s views on meaning as testability.
A small probability space representation of quantum mechanical probabilities is defined as a collection of Kolmogorovian probability spaces, each of which is associated with a context of a maximal set of compatible measurements, that portrays quantum probabilities as Kolmogorovian probabilities of classical events. Bell's theorem is stated and analyzed in terms of the small probability space formalism.
The aim of this paper is to reconstruct Brouwer’s justification for the intuitionistic revision of logic and mathematics. It is attempted to show that pivotal premisses of his argument are supplied by his philosophy. To this end, the basic tenets of his philosophical doctrine are discussed: the concepts of mind, causal attention, intuition of two-ity and his repudiation of realism.The restriction of intuitionistically allowable objects to spreads and species is traced back to Brouwer’s concept of intuition that is a defining (...) feature of his notion of mind. On the other hand, it is argued that his objections to some laws of classical logic result from the rejection of the rule of double negation elimination, which in turn follows from both, the claim that rules of logic should preserve evidence for assertions rather than truth, and too restrictive a concept of evidence. (shrink)
The objective of the paper is to present a comprehensive picture of Bell-type theorems, by giving both the theorems and the proofs of them.Special care is given to specifying the assumptions of the arguments and their physical or metaphysical significance. Taking the EPR argument as a point of departure, the paper discusses four probabilitic Bell-type theorems,which are then followed by two versions on non-probailitic (GHZ) arguments.The final section provides the reader with a classification of the assumptions, which specifies which assumption (...) is used in which proof. (shrink)
In the article three Zeno's paradoxes are reconstructed. They are: „Achilles and the turtle”, „Arrow” and „Stadium”. Together with the paradox of „Dichotomy” (which was analysed by the author elsewhere) they form the question about the nature of continuum. In the paper the following hypothesis is accepted: „Dichotomy” is principally connected with the mathematical theory of continuum, whereas other paradoxes concern the application of this theory to the description of physical motion.