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Logic and Philosophy of Science Group Talk (Huw Price, Bonn)

Tuesday April 25, 2023, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

The Logic and Philosophy of Science Group, in collaboration with the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IHPST), is pleased to welcome guest speaker Huw Price, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the Center for Science and Thought, University of Bonn, and Emeritus Bertrand Russell Professor at the University of Cambridge. He previously served as the academic director of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (2016—21), and co-founded the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge. Before moving to Cambridge in 2011, he was ARC Federation Fellow and Challis Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney, where he served as founding director of the Centre for Time.

Talk Title

Explaining Entanglement

Talk Abstract

Ken Wharton and I have proposed a mechanism for quantum entanglement. The key ingredient is the familiar statistical phenomenon of collider bias, or Berkson’s bias. In the language of causal models, a collider is a variable causally influenced by two or more other variables. Conditioning on a collider typically produces non-causal associations between its contributing causes, even if they are actually independent. It is easy to show that this phenomenon can produce associations analogous to Bell correlations, in suitable post-selected ensembles. It is also straightforward that such collider artefacts may become real connections, resembling causality, if a collider is ‘constrained’ (e.g., by a future boundary condition). We consider the time-reversed analogues of these points in the context of retrocausal models of QM. Retrocausality yields a collider at the source of an EPR-Bell particle pair, and in this case constraint of the collider is possible by normal methods of experimental preparation. It follows that connections resembling causality may be expected to emerge across such colliders, from one branch of the experiment to the other. Our hypothesis is that this constrained retrocausal collider bias is the origin of entanglement. This talk will be based on an explanation of the idea for general audiences, itself based on a suggestion we first made.

About the Logic and Philosophy of Science Group

One of six departmental Research Interest Groups, the Logic and Philosophy of Science Group hosts talks on logic, general philosophy of science, and philosophy of the particular sciences, as well as talks in allied areas such as formal epistemology, decision theory, and the metaphysics of science.



Tuesday April 25, 2023
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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Victoria College, Northrop Frye Hall, Room 119


Logic and Philosophy of Science Group
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