Nonseparable processes and causal explanation

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Abstract

If physical reality is nonseparable, as quantum mechanics suggests, then it may contain processes of a quite novel kind. Such nonseparable processes could connect spacelike separated events without violating relativity theory or any defensible locality condition. Appeal to nonseparable processes could ground theoretical explanations of such otherwise puzzling phenomena as the two-slit experiment, and EPR-type correlations. We find such phenomena puzzling because they threaten cherished conceptions of how causes operate to produce their effects. But nonseparable processes offer us an alternative deal of natural order, conformity to which makes such phenomena seem quite normal and not at all unexpected. Attempts to answer the further question, as to whether an appeal to a nonseparable process provides a genuine causal explanation, have something to teach us about our concept of causation, but do not threaten to undermine the value of the explanation itself.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-374
Number of pages38
JournalStudies in History and Philosophy of Science
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1994

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