Reichenbach’s Common Cause Principle and Quantum Correlations
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Reichenbach’s Common Cause Principle is the claim that if two events are correlated, then either there is a causal connection between the correlated events that is responsible for the correlation or there is a third event, a so called (Reichenbachian) common cause, which brings about the correlation. The paper reviews some results concerning Reichenbach’s notion of common cause, results that are directly relevant to the problem of how one can falsify Reichenbach’s Common Cause Principle. Special emphasis will be put on the question of whether EPR-type correlations can have an explanation in terms of Reichenbachian common causes. Most of the results to be recalled indicate that falsifying Reichenbach’s Common Cause Principle is much more tricky than one may have thought and that, contrary to some claims in the literature, there is no conclusive proof yet that the EPR correlations predicted by ordinary, non-relativistic quantum mechanics cannot have a common cause; furthermore, recent results about possible Reichenbachian common causes of correlations predicted by quantum field states between spacelike separated local observable algebras in algebraic quantum field theory strongly indicate that there may very well exist Reichenbachian common causes of superluminal correlations predicted by quantum field theory.
KeywordsQuantum Correlation Double Cone Spacetime Region Local Algebra Hilbert Lattice
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