Philosophy of Physics Graduate Lunch Seminar (Friday - Week 1, TT21)

philosophy of physics grad lunch seminar

Global determinism is the thought that if the laws of physics are about global variables, then the universe may in fact be deterministic, despite appearing probabilistic to us due to the inaccessibility of the whole picture. In two recent papers, Emily Adlam (2018, 2020) has argued that both the no-signalling principle and the Information Causality principle, commonly held to single out quantum mechanical correlations from the broader class of no-signalling correlations, can be derived from global determinism. Adlam introduces the requirement for global determinism by positing a necessary condition for global determinism in terms of the Shannon mutual information, and the derivations proceed by appealing to commonly-used results in Shannon information theory. In this talk, I question the use of Shannon information in the derivation of so called "foundational'' principles, since it involves a conventional choice from amongst a broader, but arguably equally well-justified, set of uncertainty measures, the Renyi measures. I argue that whilst the derivation of the no-signalling principle from global determinism is independent of the choice of uncertainty measure one uses, the derivation of Information Causality principle is not, thus undermining the significance of this result.


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