Quantum causal explanation: or, why birds fly south

Shrapnel, Sally (2014) Quantum causal explanation: or, why birds fly south. European Journal for Philosophy of Science, Online First 3: 409-423. doi:10.1007/s13194-014-0094-5

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Author Shrapnel, Sally
Title Quantum causal explanation: or, why birds fly south
Journal name European Journal for Philosophy of Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1879-4912
1879-4920
Publication date 2014-06-22
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s13194-014-0094-5
Open Access Status
Volume Online First
Issue 3
Start page 409
End page 423
Total pages 15
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Springer Netherlands
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
It is widely held that it is difficult, if not impossible, to apply causal theory to the domain of quantum mechanics. However, there are several recent scientific explanations that appeal crucially to quantum processes, and which are most naturally construed as causal explanations. They come from two relatively new fields: quantum biology and quantum technology. We focus on two examples, the explanation for the optical interferometer LIGO and the explanation for the avian magneto-compass. We analyse the explanation for the avian magneto-compass from the perspective of Woodward's interventionist theory and provide a causal model. Furthermore, we show how worries expressed by Woodward about quantum causation are circumvented in these cases, concluding that these kinds of explanations are most naturally construed as causal.
Keyword Interventionist causation
Causal modelling
Quantum mechanics
Avian magnetoreception
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online: 22 June 2014

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
 
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Created: Mon, 21 Jul 2014, 09:41:08 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry