The common cause principle says that every correlation is either due to a direct causal effect linking the correlated entities or is brought about by a third factor, a so-called common cause. The principle is of central importance in the philosophy of science, especially in causal explanation, causal modeling and in the foundations of quantum physics. Written for philosophers of science, physicists and statisticians, this book contributes to the debate over the validity of the common cause principle, by proving results that bring to the surface the nature of explanation by common causes. It provides a technical and mathematically rigorous examination of the notion of common cause, providing an analysis not only in terms of classical probability measure spaces, which is typical in the available literature, but in quantum probability theory as well. The authors provide numerous open problems to further the debate and encourage future research in this field.
Gabor Hofer-Szabo is a Bolyai Research Fellow in the Department of Logic at the Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest. His main fields of research are foundations of quantum mechanics, interpretations of probability and probabilistic causality. Miklos Redei is a Reader in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Methodology of Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research interests are philosophy and foundations of physics. Laszlo E. Szabo is Professor in the Department of Logic, Institute of Philosophy at Eotvos University, Budapest. His research focuses on the philosophy of space and time, causality, the EPR-Bell problem, interpretation of probability and a physicalist account of mathematics.
Preface; 1. Introduction and overview; 2. The common cause principle; 3. Common cause extendability of probability spaces; 4. Causally closed probability theories; 5. Common common causes; 6. Common cause extendability of non-classical probability spaces; 7. Reichenbachian common cause systems; 8. Causal closedness of quantum field theory; 9. Reichenbach's common cause principle and EPR correlations; 10. Where do we stand?; Appendix; Index.