Journal Article

Stochastic outcomes in branching space-time: analysis of Bell's theorem

T Placek

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 51, issue 3, pages 445-475
Published in print September 2000 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online September 2000 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/51.3.445
Stochastic outcomes in branching space-time: analysis of Bell's theorem

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The paper extends the framework of outcomes in branching space-time (Kowalski and Placek [1999]) 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.

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Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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