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The Journal of Philosophy

Volume 118, Issue 1, January 2021

Peter W. EvansOrcid-ID
Pages 28-42

A Sideways Look at Faithfulness for Quantum Correlations

Despite attempts to apply causal modeling techniques to quantum systems, Wood and Spekkens argue that any causal model purporting to explain quantum correlations must be fine tuned; it must violate the assumption of faithfulness. This paper is an attempt to undermine the reasonableness of the assumption of faithfulness in the quantum context. Employing a symmetry relation between an entangled quantum system and a “sideways” quantum system consisting of a single photon passing sequentially through two polarizers, I argue that Wood and Spekkens’s analysis applies equally to this sideways system also. As a result, we must either reject a causal explanation in this single photon system, or the sideways system must be fine tuned. If the latter, a violation of faithfulness in the ordinary entangled system may be more tolerable than first thought. Thus, extending the classical “no fine-tuning” principle of parsimony to the quantum realm may be too hasty.

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