Common-causes are not common common-causes

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Hofer-Szabó, Gábor; Redei, Miklos; Szabo, Laszlo E.
preprint description
A condition is formulated in terms of the probabilities of two pairs of correlated events in a classical probability space which is necessary for the two correlations to have a single (Reichenbachian) common-cause and it is shown that there exists pairs of correlated events probabilities of which violate the necessary condition. It is concluded that different correlations do not in general have a common common-cause. It is also shown that this conclusion remains valid even if one weakens slightly Reichenbach's definition of common-cause. The significance of the difference between common-causes and common common-causes is emphasized from the perspective of Reichenbach's Common Cause Principle.