Fifty years after the publication of Bell'stheorem, there remains some controversy regarding what the theorem is telling us about quantum mechanics, and what the experimental violations of Bell inequalities are telling us about the world. This chapter represents my best attempt to be clear about what I think the lessons are. In brief: there is some sort of nonlocality inherent in any quantum theory, and, moreover, in any theory that reproduces, even approximately, the quantum probabilities for (...) the outcomes of experiments. But not all forms of nonlocality are the same; there is a distinction to be made between action at a distance and other forms of nonlocality, and I will argue that the nonlocality required to violate the Bell inequalities need not involve action at a distance. Furthermore, the distinction between forms of nonlocality makes a difference when it comes to compatibility with relativistic causal structure. (shrink)
This paper addresses arguments that “separability” is an assumption of Bell’s theorem, and that abandoning this assumption in our interpretation of quantum mechanics (a position sometimes referred to as “holism”) will allow us to restore a satisfying locality principle. Separability here means that all events associated to the union of some set of disjoint regions are combinations of events associated to each region taken separately.In this article, it is shown that: (a) localised events can be consistently defined without implying (...) separability; (b) the definition of Bell’s locality condition does not rely on separability in any way; (c) the proof of Bell’s theorem does not use separability as an assumption. If, inspired by considerations of non-separability, the assumptions of Bell’s theorem are weakened, what remains no longer embodies the locality principle. Teller’s argument for “relational holism” and Howard’s arguments concerning separability are criticised in the light of these results. Howard’s claim that Einstein grounded his arguments on the incompleteness of QM with a separability assumption is also challenged. Instead, Einstein is better interpreted as referring merely to the existence of localised events. Finally, it is argued that Bell rejected the idea that separability is an assumption of his theorem. (shrink)
Bell’s theorem admits several interpretations or ‘solutions’, the standard interpretation being ‘indeterminism’, a next one ‘nonlocality’. In this article two further solutions are investigated, termed here ‘superdeterminism’ and ‘supercorrelation’. The former is especially interesting for philosophical reasons, if only because it is always rejected on the basis of extra-physical arguments. The latter, supercorrelation, will be studied here by investigating model systems that can mimic it, namely spin lattices. It is shown that in these systems the Bell inequality can be (...) violated, even if they are local according to usual definitions. Violation of the Bell inequality is retraced to violation of ‘measurement independence’. These results emphasize the importance of studying the premises of the Bell inequality in realistic systems. (shrink)
Bellʼs 1964 theorem causes a severe problem for the notion that correlations require explanation, encapsulated in Reichenbachʼs principle of common cause. Despite being a hallmark of scientific thought, dropping the principle has been widely regarded as much less bitter medicine than the perceived alternative—dropping relativistic causality. Recently, however, some authors have proposed that modified forms of Reichenbachʼs principle could be maintained even with relativistic causality. Here we break down Reichenbachʼs principle into two independent assumptions—the principle of common cause proper (...) and factorization of probabilities. We show how Bellʼs theorem can be derived from these two assumptions plus relativistic causality and the law of total probability for actual events, and we review proposals to drop each of these assumptions in light of the theorem. In particular, we show that the non-commutative common causes of Hofer-Szabó and Vecsernyés fail to have an analogue of the notion that the common causes can explain the observed correlations. Moreover, we show that their definition can be satisfied trivially by any quantum product state for any quantum correlations. We also discuss how the conditional states approach of Leifer and Spekkens fares in this regard. (shrink)
A proof of Bell’s theorem without inequalities is presented in which distant local setups do not need to be aligned, since the required perfect correlations are achieved for any local rotation of the local setups.
A class of probability functions is studied. This class contains the probability functions of half-spin particles and spinning classical objects. A notion of realisability for these functions is defined. In terms of this notion two versions of Bell'stheorem and their inverses are stated and proved.
The paper considers the claim that quantum theories with a deterministic dynamics of objects in ordinary space-time, such as Bohmian mechanics, contradict the assumption that the measurement settings can be freely chosen in the EPR experiment. That assumption is one of the premises of Bell’s theorem. I first argue that only a premise to the effect that what determines the choice of the measurement settings is independent of what determines the past state of the measured system is needed for (...) the derivation of Bell’s theorem. Determinism as such does not undermine that independence . Only entanglement could do so. However, generic entanglement without collapse on the level of the universal wave-function can go together with effective wave-functions for subsystems of the universe, as in Bohmian mechanics. The paper argues that such effective wave-functions are sufficient for the mentioned independence premise to hold. (shrink)
The hidden-variable theorems of Bell and followers depend upon an assumption, namely the hidden-variable assumption, that conflicts with the precepts of quantum philosophy. Hence from an orthodox quantum perspective those theorems entail no faster-than-light transfer of information. They merely reinforce the ban on hidden variables. The need for some sort of faster-than-light information transfer can be shown by using counterfactuals instead of hidden variables. Shimony’s criticism of that argument fails to take into account the distinction between no-faster-than-light connection in one (...) direction and that same condition in both directions. The argument can be cleanly formulated within the framework of a fixed past, open future interpretation of quantum theory, which neatly accommodates the critical assumptions that the experimenters are free to choose which experiments they will perform. The assumptions are compatible with the Tomonaga–Schwinger formulation of quantum field theory, and hence with orthodox quantum precepts, and with the relativistic requirement that no prediction pertaining to an outcome in one region can depend upon a free choice made in a region spacelike-separated from the first. (shrink)
I present a local, deterministic model of the EPR-Bohm experiment, inspired by recent work by Joy Christian, that appears at first blush to be in tension with Bell-type theorems. I argue that the model ultimately fails to do what a hidden variable theory needs to do, but that it is interesting nonetheless because the way it fails helps clarify the scope and generality of Bell-type theorems. I formulate and prove a minor proposition that makes explicit how Bell-type theorems rule out (...) models of the sort I describe here. (shrink)
Bell’s theorem has fascinated physicists and philosophers since his 1964 paper, which was written in response to the 1935 paper of Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen. Bell’s theorem and its many extensions have led to the claim that quantum mechanics and by inference nature herself are nonlocal in the sense that a measurement on a system by an observer at one location has an immediate effect on a distant entangled system. Einstein was repulsed by such “spooky action at a (...) distance” and was led to question whether quantum mechanics could provide a complete description of physical reality. In this paper I argue that quantum mechanics does not require spooky action at a distance of any kind and yet it is entirely reasonable to question the assumption that quantum mechanics can provide a complete description of physical reality. The magic of entangled quantum states has little to do with entanglement and everything to do with superposition, a property of all quantum systems and a foundational tenet of quantum mechanics. (shrink)
I apply some of the lessons from quantum theory, in particular from Bell’s theorem, to a debate on the foundations of decision theory and causation. By tracing a formal analogy between the basic assumptions of causal decision theory (CDT)—which was developed partly in response to Newcomb’s problem— and those of a local hidden variable theory in the context of quantum mechanics, I show that an agent who acts according to CDT and gives any nonzero credence to some possible causal (...) interpretations underlying quantum phenomena should bet against quantum mechanics in some feasible game scenarios involving entangled systems, no matter what evidence they acquire. As a consequence, either the most accepted version of decision theory is wrong, or it provides a practical distinction, in terms of the prescribed behaviour of rational agents, between some metaphysical hypotheses regarding the causal structure underlying quantum mechanics. (shrink)
Since the validity of Bell's inequalities implies the existence of joint probabilities for non-commuting observables, there is no universal consensus as to what the violation of these inequalities signifies. While the majority view is that the violation teaches us an important lesson about the possibility of explanations, if not about metaphysical issues, there is also a minimalist position claiming that the violation is to be expected from simple facts about probability theory. This minimalist position is backed by theorems due (...) to A. Fine and I. Pitowsky.Our paper shows that the minimalist position cannot be sustained. To this end,we give a formally rigorous interpretation of joint probabilities in thecombined modal and spatiotemporal framework of `stochastic outcomes inbranching space-time' (SOBST) (Kowalski and Placek, 1999; Placek, 2000). We show in this framework that the claim that there can be no joint probabilities fornon-commuting observables is incorrect. The lesson from Fine's theorem is notthat Bell's inequalities will be violated anyhow, but that an adequate modelfor the Bell/Aspect experiment must not define global joint probabilities. Thus we investigate the class of stochastic hidden variable models, whichprima facie do not define such joint probabilities. The reasonwhy these models fail supports the majority view: Bell's inequalities are notjust a mathematical artifact. (shrink)
A variation of Bell'stheorem that deals with the indeterministic case is formulated and proved within the logical framework of Lewis's theory of counterfactuals. The no-faster-than-light-influence condition is expressed in terms of Lewis would counterfactual conditionals. Objections to this procedure raised by certain philosophers of science are examined and answered. The theorem shows that the incompatibility between the predictions of quantum theory and the idea of no faster-than-light influence cannot be ascribed to any auxiliary or tacit assumption (...) of either determinism or the related idea that outcomes of unperformed measurements are determinate within nature. In addition, the theorem provides an example of an application of Lewis's theory of counterfactuals in a rigorous scientific context. (shrink)
First, the demonstration of Bell'stheorem, i.e., of the nonlocal character of quantum theory, is spelled out using the EPR criterion of reality as premises and a gedankenexperiment involving two particles. Then, the EPR criterion is extended to include quantities predicted almostwith certainty, and Bell'stheorem is demonstrated on these new premises. The same experiment is used but in conditions that become possible in real life, without the requirements of ideal efficiencies and zero background. Very high (...) efficiencies and low background are needed, but these requirements may be met in the future. (shrink)
A small probability space representation of quantum mechanical probabilities is defined as a collection of Kolmogorovian probability spaces, each of which is associated with a context of a maximal set of compatible measurements, that portrays quantum probabilities as Kolmogorovian probabilities of classical events. Bell'stheorem is stated and analyzed in terms of the small probability space formalism.
It is shown that the violation of Bell's inequality allowed by quantum mechanics and the related Bell'stheorem without inequalities is accounted for by local commutations of operators representing single-particle observables. It is argued that the idea of nonlocal influencing of one particle on another when they are in spacelike separated regions clearly has neither empirical nor theoretical support.
The model of the world proposed by Whitehead provides a natural theoretical framework in which to imbed quantum theory. This model accords with the ontological ideas of Heisenberg, and also with Einstein's view that physical theories should refer nominally to the objective physical situation, rather than our knowledge of that system. Whitehead imposed on his model the relativistic requirement that what happens in any given spacetime region be determined only by what has happened in its absolute past, i.e., in the (...) backward light-cone drawn from that region. This requirement must be modified, for it is inconsistent with the implications of quantum theory expressed by a generalized version of Bell'stheorem. Revamping the causal spacetime structure of the Whitehead-Heisenberg ontology to bring it into accord with the generalized Bell'stheorem creates the possibility of a nonlocal causal covariant theory that accords with the statistical prediction of quantum theory. (shrink)
The hidden-variables model constructed by Karl Hess and Walter Philipp is claimed by its authors to exploit a "loophole" in Bell'stheorem; according to Hess and Philipp, the parameters employed in their model extend beyond those considered by Bell. Furthermore, they claim that their model satisfies Einstein locality and is free of any "suspicion of spooky action at a distance." Both of these claims are false; the Hess-Philipp model achieves agreement with the quantum-mechanical predictions, not by circumventing (...) class='Hi'>Bell'stheorem, but via Parameter Dependence. (shrink)
A concise proof of Bell'stheorem on the necessary nonlocality of any theory which models individual measurements in correlated quantum mechanical systems is presented. A family of inequalities is derived which may be applied to a broad class of correlated systems to test the assumption of locality.
H.P. Stapp has proposed a number of demonstrations of a Bell-type theorem which dispensed with an assumption of hidden variables, but relied only upon locality together with an assumption that experimenters can choose freely which of several incompatible observables to measure. In recent papers his strategy has centered upon counterfactual conditionals. Stapp’s paper in American Journal of Physics, 2004, replies to objections raised against earlier expositions of this strategy and proposes a simplified demonstration. The new demonstration is criticized, several (...) subtleties in the logic of counterfactuals are pointed out, and the proofs of J.S. Bell and his followers are advocated. (shrink)
Bell’s theorem in its standard version demonstrates that the joint assumptions of the hidden-variable hypothesis and the principle of local causation lead to a conflict with quantum-mechanical predictions. In his latest counterfactual strengthening of Bell’s theorem, Stapp attempts to prove that the locality assumption itself contradicts the quantum-mechanical predictions in the Hardy case. His method relies on constructing a complex, non-truth functional formula which consists of statements about measurements and outcomes in some region R, and whose truth value (...) depends on the selection of a measurement setting in a space-like separated location L. Stapp argues that this fact shows that the information about the measurement selection made in L has to be present in R. I give detailed reasons why this conclusion can and should be resisted. Next I correct and formalize an informal argument by Shimony and Stein showing that the locality condition coupled with Einstein’s criterion of reality is inconsistent with quantum-mechanical predictions. I discuss the possibility of avoiding the inconsistency by rejecting Einstein’s criterion rather than the locality assumption. (shrink)
Bell'stheorem is expounded as an analysis in Bayesian probabilistic inference. Assume that the result of a spin measurement on a spin-1/2 particle is governed by a variable internal to the particle (local, “hidden”), and examine pairs of particles having zero combined angular momentum so that their internal variables are correlated: knowing something about the internal variable of one tells us something about that of the other. By measuring the spin of one particle, we infer something about its (...) internal variable; through the correlation, about the internal variable of the second particle, which may be arbitrarily distant and is by hypothesis unchanged by this measurement (locality); and make (probabilistic) prediction of spin observations on the second particle. Each link in this chain has a counterpart in the Bayesian analysis of the situation. Irrespective of the details of the internal variable description, such prediction is violated by measurements on many particle pairs, so that locality—effectively the only physics invoked—fails. The time ordering of the two measurements is not Lorentz-invariant, implying acausality. Quantum mechanics is irrelevant to this reasoning, although its correct predictions of the statistics of the results imply it has a nonlocal—acausal interpretation; one such, the “transactional” interpretation, is presented to demonstrable advantage, and some misconceptions about quantum theory are pursued. The “unobservability” loophole in photonic Bell experiments is proven to be closed. It is shown that this mechanism cannot be used for signalling; signalling would become possible only if the hidden variables, which we insist must underlie the statistical character of the observations (the alternative is to give up), are uncovered in deviations from quantum predictions. Their reticence is understood as a consequence of their nonlocality: it is not easy to isolate and measure something nonlocal. Once the hidden variables are found, all the problems of quantum field theory and of quantum gravity might melt away. (shrink)
With regard to the notion of cause—or more generally of influence—the various methods of proof of Bell'stheorem do not all have the same bearing. The differences between two of these methods are analyzed, with regard to both their conceptual basis and their conclusions. It is shown that both methods give valuable information but, not too surprisingly, the one that is based on the more detailed and specific definition of the concept of influences, and that makes use of (...) the concept of attribute, leads to conclusions that are also to some extent more specific than those following from the other method. (shrink)
We rediscuss the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox in Bohm's spin version and oppose to it Bohr's controversial point of view. Then we explain Bell'stheorem, Bell inequalities, and its consequences. We describe the experiment of Aspect, Dalibard, and Roger in detail. Finally we draw attention to the nonlocal structure of the underlying theory.
Motivated by a paper by Barut and Meystre, Bohm's EPR gedanken experiment performed with classical and spin-s particles is considered, and the applicability of Bell'stheorem to these cases is discussed. The classical model presented by Barut and Meystre is modified to become a stochastic local hidden-variable model reproducing the results of an EPR experiment of the type performed by Aspect et al.
Two different ideas of locality are described. Both are due essentially to einstein. Quantum theory is compatible with the first but not the second. The problems encountered in the article cited in the title arise from trying to use only the first idea of locality, whereas Bell's-theorem considerations pertain to the second.
Bell'stheorem is expounded as an analysis in Bayesian inference. Assuming the result of a spin measurement on a particle is governed by a causal variable internal (hidden, “local”) to the particle, one learns about it by making a spin measurement; thence about the internal variable of a second particle correlated with the first; and from there predicts the probabilistic result of spin measurements on the second particle. Such predictions are violated by experiment: locality/causality fails. The statistical nature (...) of the observations rules out signalling; acausal, superluminal, or otherwise. Quantum mechanics is irrelevant to this reasoning, although its correct predictions of experiment imply that it has a nonlocal/acausal interpretation. Cramer's newtransactional interpretation, which incorporates this feature by adapting the Wheeler-Feynman idea of advanced and retarded processes to the quantum laws, is advocated. It leads to an invaluable way of envisaging quantum processes. The usual paradoxes melt before this, and one, the “delayed choice” experiment, is chosen for detailed inspection. Nonlocality implies practical difficulties in influencing hidden variables, which provides a very plausible explanation for why they have not yet been found; from this standpoint, Bell's theoremreinforces arguments in favor of hidden variables. (shrink)
The paper develops models of statistical experiments that combine propensities with frequencies, the underlying theory being the branching space-times (BST) of Belnap (1992). The models are then applied to analyze Bell'stheorem. We prove the so-called Bell-CH inequality via the assumptions of a BST version of Outcome Independence and of (non-probabilistic) No Conspiracy. Notably, neither the condition of probabilistic No Conspiracy nor the condition of Parameter Independence is needed in the proof. As the Bell-CH inequality is most likely (...) experimentally falsified, the choice is this: contrary to the appearances, experimenters cannot choose some measurement settings, or some transitions, with spacelike related initial events, are correlated; or both. (shrink)
Einstein's "spookiness" is now called nonlocality, the mysterious ability of Nature to enforce correlations between separated but entangled parts of a quantum system that are out of speed-of-light contact, to reach faster-than-light across vast spatial distances or even across time itself to ensure that the parts of a quantum system are made to match. This column is about nonlocality, and how, through Bell'stheorem, the nonlocality implicit in nature has been demonstrated in the laboratory.
According to a recent paper by Tim Maudlin, Bell’s theorem has nothing to tell us about realism or the descriptive completeness of quantum mechanics. What it shows is that quantum mechanics is non-local, no more and no less. What I intend to do in this paper is to challenge Maudlin’s assertion about the import of Bell’s proof. There is much that I agree with in the paper; in particular, it does us the valuable service of demonstrating that Einstein’s objections (...) to quantum mechanics have nothing to do with its indeterminism. But I do think that Maudlin’s conclusion is overly cut-and-dried. Quantum mechanics is far from a unified edifice, and what Bell’s theorem shows depends on what version of quantum mechanics you look at. In particular, I’ll try to make the case that there’s an interesting, if ultimately uncompelling anti-realist construal of the import of Bell’s theorem. And I also want to suggest that locality isn’t quite as decisively defeated as Maudlin claims. (shrink)
A discussion of Nieuwenhuizen’s description for the hidden variables of the detectors in the derivation of Bell’s theorem is presented. This description prevents Bell’s inequalities from being effected. However it will be argued, on mathematical and physical bases, that the flaws attributed by Nieuwenhuizen to Bell’s probability distribution function are unjustified.
Nieuwenhuizen argued that there exists some “contextuality loophole” in Bell’s theorem. This claim is unjustified. In Bell’s theorem non-contextuality is not presupposed but derived from Einstein causality using the EPR argument.
It is argued that quantum mechanics must be interpreted according to the Copenhagen interpretation. Consequently the formalism must be used in a purely operational way. The relation between realism, hidden variables, and the Bell inequalities is discussed. The proof of impossibility of local hidden-variables theories (Bell'stheorem) is criticized on the basis that the quantum mechanical states violating local realism are not physically realizable states.“Einstein had great difficulty in reaching a sharp formulation of Bohr's meaning. What hope then (...) for the rest of us.”—John S. Bell (Ref. 1, p. 189). (shrink)
This paper proposes a solution to the problem of non-locality associated with Bell’s theorem, within the counterfactual approach to the problem. Our proposal is that a counterfactual definition of locality can be maintained, if a subsidiary hypothesis be rejected, “locality involving two counterfactuals”. This amounts to the acceptance of locality in the actual world, and a denial that locality is always valid in counterfactual worlds. This also introduces a metaphysical asymmetry between the factual and counterfactual worlds. This distinction is (...) analogous to what occurs in the derivations of Bell’s theorem which assume hidden-variables, where macroscopic locality can be maintained at the price of rejecting outcome independence. This can be interpreted as non-locality at the level of potentialities, which might be identified with the non-locality of counterfactual worlds. Our solution, presented for the CHSH inequality, is falsifiable, and we test it with two other setups, Bell’s original inequality and the EPR thought-experiment. (shrink)
This study concerns Bells's Theorem that there can be no Bell local hidden variables theory for the quantum spin correlation statistics generated by pairs of spacelike separated spin--1/2 particles in the singlet spin state. Since Bell'sTheorem rests on two assumptions: hidden variables and Bell locality, Bell'sTheorem leaves us with a dilemma. According to Bell's dilemma we are faced with a choice between the hidden variables assumption and the assumption of Bell locality. Most (...) theorists accept Bell locality and call the hidden variables assumption into question. ;After I have presented the general concept of a hidden variables theory and a variety of hidden variables strategies for quantum measurement statistics, I will present Bell'sTheorem from both a theoretical and an experimental perspective. ;This study will then deal with three questions: Is Bell'sTheorem an inevitable consequence of the use of classical probability theory in the analysis of quantum spin correlation measurement statistics? What is the relevance of Bell'sTheorem to the realist/anti-realist debate? Is the standard view that quantum mechanics itself has no commitment to hidden variables correct? ;In discussing these questions, this study aims to shift the focus of the debate concerning Bell'sTheorem away from the hidden variables assumption and onto the Bell locality assumption. (shrink)
In the present paper we give a precise definition of a hidden-variable theory for quantum mechanics, whereby we adopt the weakest possible definition of a hidden-variable theory, which is compatible with the assumption that the bounded observables of a quantum mechanical system are represented by the elements of the real part Ar of a W*-algebra A (of the most general type) and the states are represented by the “normal states” (in the mathematical sense) of A. We then go on to (...) show that an example put forward by Bell in 1966 satisfies our definition (Sec. 2). Finally we make use of Bell's famous theorem to show that for a sufficiently non-commutative W*-algebra A no hidden-variable theory in our sense exists (Theorem 3.3 and its corollaries). (shrink)
Between 1964 and 1990, the notion of nonlocality in Bell's papers underwent a profound change as his nonlocality theorem gradually became detached from quantum mechanics, and referred to wider probabilistic theories involving correlations between separated beables. The proposition that standard quantum mechanics is itself nonlocal became divorced from the Bell theorem per se from 1976 on, although this important point is widely overlooked in the literature. In 1990, the year of his death, Bell would express serious misgivings (...) about the mathematical form of the local causality condition, and leave ill-defined the issue of the consistency between special relativity and violation of the Bell-type inequality. In our view, the significance of the Bell theorem, both in its deterministic and stochastic forms, can only be fully understood by taking into account the fact that a fully Lorentz-covariant version of quantum theory, free of action-at-a-distance, can be articulated in the Everett interpretation. (shrink)
Since the validity of Bell's inequalities implies the existence of joint probabilities for non-commuting observables, there is no universal consensus as to what the violation of these inequalities signifies. While the majority view is that the violation teaches us an important lesson about the possibility of explanations, if not about metaphysical issues, there is also a minimalist position claiming that the violation is to be expected from simple facts about probability theory. This minimalist position is backed by theorems due (...) to A. Fine and I. Pitowsky. Our paper shows that the minimalist position cannot be sustained. To this end, we give a formally rigorous interpretation of joint probabilities in the combined modal and spatiotemporal framework of 'stochastic outcomes in branching space-time'. We show in this framework that the claim that there can be no joint probabilities for non-commuting observables is incorrect. The lesson from Fine's theorem is not that Bell's inequalities will be violated anyhow, but that an adequate model for the Bell/Aspect experiment must not define global joint probabilities. Thus we investigate the class of stochastic hidden variable models, which prima facie do not define such joint probabilities. The reason why these models fail supports the majority view: Bell's inequalities are not just a mathematical artifact. (shrink)
We study the idea of implantation of Piron's and Bell's geometrical lemmas for proving some results concerning measures on finite as well as infinite-dimensional Hilbert spaces, including also measures with infinite values. In addition, we present parabola based proofs of weak Piron's geometrical and Bell's lemmas. These approaches will not used directly Gleason's theorem, which is a highly non-trivial result.
I compare deterministic and stochastic hidden variable models of the Bell experiment, exphasising philosophical distinctions between the various ways of combining conditionals and probabilities. I make four main claims. (1) Under natural assumptions, locality as it occurs in these models is equivalent to causal independence, as analysed (in the spirit of Lewis) in terms of probabilities and conditionals. (2) Stochastic models are indeed more general than deterministic ones. (3) For factorizable stochastic models, relativity's lack of superluminal causation does not favour (...) locality over completeness. (4) If we prohibit all superluminal causation, then the violation of the Bell inequality teaches us a lesson, besides quantum mechanics' familiar ones that quantities can lack precise values and that pairs of quantities can lack joint probabilities: namely, some pairs of events are not screened off by their common past. (shrink)
The argument of Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen is reviewed with attention to logical structure and character of assumptions. Bohr's reply is discussed. Bell's contribution is formulated without use of hidden variables, and efforts to equate hidden variables to realism are critically examined. An alternative derivation of nonlocality that makes no use of hidden variables, microrealism, counterfactual definiteness, or any other assumption alien to orthodox quantum thinking is described in detail, with particular attention to the quartet or broken-square question.
We first examine Howard's analysis of the Bell factorizability condition in terms of 'separability' and 'locality' and then consider his claims that the violations of Bell's inequality by the statistical predictions of quantum mechanics should be interpreted in terms of 'nonseparability' rather than 'nonlocality' and that 'nonseparability' implies the failure of spacetime as a principle of individuation for quantum-mechanical systems. We will argue that his argument for the first claim is less than compelling and that any argument for the (...) second claim will be interpretation-dependent and, hence, not generally valid. (shrink)
Some recent work in the philosophy of quantum mechanics has suggested that quantum systems can be thought of as non-separable and therefore non-individual, in some sense, in Bell and E.P.R. type situations. This suggestion is set in the context of previous work regarding the individuality of quantal particles and it is argued that such entities can be considered as individuals if their non-classical statistical correlations are understood in terms of non-supervenient relations holding between them. We conclude that such relations are (...) strongly non-supervenient in Cleland's sense and note a possible connection between this idea and the realist quantum logic programme. (shrink)
In a recent paper on Foundations of Physics Stephen Boughn argued that quantum mechanics does not require nonlocality of any kind and that the common interpretation of Bell theorem as a nonlocality result is based on a misunderstanding. In this note I argue that the Boughn arguments, that summarize views widespread in certain areas of the foundations of quantum mechanics, are based on an incorrect reading of the presuppositions of the EPR argument and the Bell theorem and, as (...) a consequence, are totally unfounded. (shrink)
In a recent paper on Foundations of Physics, Stephen Boughn reinforces a view that is more shared in the area of the foundations of quantum mechanics than it would deserve, a view according to which quantum mechanics does not require nonlocality of any kind and the common interpretation of Bell theorem as a nonlocality result is based on a misunderstanding. In the present paper I argue that this view is based on an incorrect reading of the presuppositions of the (...) EPR argument and the Bell theorem and, as a consequence, is unfounded. (shrink)
Based on the new general framework for the probabilistic description of experiments, introduced in [E.R. Loubenets, Research Report No 8, MaPhySto, University of Aarhus, Denmark (2003); Proceedings Conference “Quantum Theory, Reconsideration of Foundations”, Ser. Math. Modeling, Vol. 10 (University Press, Vaxjo, 2004), pp. 365–385], we analyze in mathematical terms the link between the validity of Bell-type inequalities under joint experiments upon a system of any type and the physical concept of “local realism”. We prove that the violation of Bell-type inequalities (...) in the quantum case has no connection with the violation of “local realism”. In a general setting, we formulate in mathematical terms the condition on “local realism” under a joint experiment and consider examples of quantum “locally realistic” joint experiments. We, in particular, show that quantum joint experiments of the Alice/Bob type are “locally realistic”. For an arbitrary bipartite quantum state, we derive quantum analogs of the original Bell inequality. In view of our results, we argue that the violation of Bell-type inequalities in the quantum case cannot be a valid argument in the discussion on locality or non-locality of quantum interactions. (shrink)
The paper extends the framework of outcomes in branching space-time (Kowalski and Placek ) by assigning probabilities to outcomes of events, where these probabilities are interpreted either epistemically or as weighted possibilities. In resulting models I define the notion of common cause of correlated outcomes of a single event, and investigate which setups allow for the introduction of common causes. It turns out that a deterministic common cause can always be introduced, but (surprisingly) only special setups permit the introduction of (...) truly stochastic common causes. I analyse next the Bell-Aspect experiment and derive the Bell-CH inequalities. I observe that we postulate there not a common cause for outcomes of a single event but rather a common common cause that accounts for outcomes of many events, where 'events' mean 'measurements with (different) directions of polarization'. Since the inequalities are violated, I claim that no causal story can be told about the Bell correlations, where causality is subliminal and restricted by screening-off condition. Similarly, given certain intuitive principles, no deterministic story can be told about these correlations. (shrink)