, Volume 196, Issue 9, pp 3711–3722 | Cite as

Do the EPR correlations pose a problem for causal decision theory?

  • Adam Koberinski
  • Lucas DunlapEmail author
  • William L. Harper


We argue that causal decision theory (CDT) is no worse off than evidential decision theory (EDT) in handling entanglement, regardless of one’s preferred interpretation of quantum mechanics. In recent works, Ahmed (Evidence, decision, and causality, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2014) and Ahmed and Caulton (Synthese, 191(18): 4315–4352, 2014) have claimed the opposite; we argue that they are mistaken. Bell-type experiments are not instances of Newcomb problems, so CDT and EDT do not diverge in their recommendations. We highlight the fact that a Causal Decision Theorist should take all lawlike correlations into account, including potentially acausal entanglement correlations. This paper also provides a brief introduction to CDT with a motivating “small” Newcomb problem. The main point of our argument is that quantum theory does not provide grounds for favouring EDT over CDT.


Causal decision theory Quantum mechanics EPR correlations Newcomb’s Problem 



The authors would like to thank the philosophy of physics reading group at Western University for helpful feedback on early drafts, Wayne Myrvold for helpful discussions, and two anonymous reviewers for their comments, which helped to strengthen the argument of this paper. This research was supported by a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Doctoral CGS Award from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Adam Koberinski).


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rotman Institute of PhilosophyUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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