New Slant on the EPR-Bell Experiment

The best case for thinking that quantum mechanics is nonlocal rests on Bell's Theorem, and later results of the same kind. However, the correlations characteristic of Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen (EPR)–Bell (EPRB) experiments also arise in familiar cases elsewhere in quantum mechanics (QM), where the two measurements involved are timelike rather than spacelike separated; and in which the correlations are usually assumed to have a local causal explanation, requiring no action-at-a-distance (AAD). It is interesting to ask how this is possible, in the light of Bell's Theorem. We investigate this question, and present two options. Either (i) the new cases are nonlocal too, in which case AAD is more widespread in QM than has previously been appreciated (and does not depend on entanglement, as usually construed); or (ii) the means of avoiding AAD in the new cases extends in a natural way to EPRB, removing AAD in these cases too. There is a third option, viz., that the new cases are strongly disanalogous to EPRB. But this option requires an argument, so far missing, that the physical world breaks the symmetries which otherwise support the analogy. In the absence of such an argument, the orthodox combination of views—action-at-a-distance in EPRB, but local causality in its timelike analogue—is less well established than it is usually assumed to be. 1 Introduction1.1 Background1.2 Outline of the argument2 The Experiments2.1 Standard EPRB2.2 Sideways EPRB2.3 Comparing the experiments2.4 The need for beables3 The Symmetry Considerations3.1 The action symmetry3.2 Time-symmetry in SEPRB4 The Basic Trilemma4.1 An intuitive defence of Option III?5 Avoiding the Trilemma?6 The Classical Objection7 Defending Option III7.1 The free will argument7.2 Independence and consistency8 Entanglement and Epistemic Perspective
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/axr052
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