Journal Article

On Reichenbach's common cause principle and Reichenbach's notion of common cause

G Hofer-Szabó, M Rédei and LE Szabó

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 50, issue 3, pages 377-399
Published in print September 1999 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online September 1999 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/50.3.377
On Reichenbach's common cause principle and Reichenbach's notion of common cause

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It is shown that, given any finite set of pairs of random events in a Boolean algebra which are correlated with respect to a fixed probability measure on the algebra, the algebra can be extended in such a way that the extension contains events that can be regarded as common causes of the correlations in the sense of Reichenbach's definition of common cause. It is shown, further, that, given any quantum probability space and any set of commuting events in it which are correlated with respect to a fixed quantum state, the quantum probability space can be extended in such a way that the extension contains common causes of all the selected correlations, where common cause is again taken in the sense of Reichenbachs definition. It is argued that these results very strongly restrict the possible ways of disproving Reichenbach's Common Cause Principle.

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Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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