Repository URL:
http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/13373
Author(s):
Michael E. Cuffaro
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preprint description
The principle of 'information causality' can be used to derive an upper bound---known as the 'Tsirelson bound'---on the strength of quantum mechanical correlations, and has been conjectured to be a foundational principle of nature. In this paper, however, I argue that the principle has not to date been sufficiently motivated to play this role; the motivations that have so far been given are either unsatisfactorily vague or else amount to little more than an appeal to intuition. I then consider how one might begin to successfully motivate the principle. I argue that a compelling way of so doing is to understand it as a generalisation of Einstein's principle of the mutually independent existence---the 'being-thus'---of spatially distant things, (re-)interpreted as a special methodological principle. More specifically: I describe an argument, due to Demopoulos, to the effect that the quantum-mechanical no-signalling condition can be viewed as a generalisation, appropriate to an irreducibly statistical theory such as quantum mechanics, of the Einsteinian principle. And I then argue that a compelling way to motivate information causality is to in turn consider it as a further generalisation of the Einsteinian principle that is appropriate to a theory of communication. I nevertheless describe important obstacles that must yet be overcome if the project of establishing information causality as a foundational principle of nature is to succeed.

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