Counterfactual Reasoning, Realism and Quantum Mechanics: Much Ado About Nothing?
- 44 Downloads
I show why old and new claims on the role of counterfactual reasoning for the EPR argument and Bell’s theorem are unjustified: once the logical relation between locality and counterfactual reasoning is clarified, the use of the latter does no harm and the nonlocality result can well follow from the EPR premises. To show why, after emphasizing the role of incompleteness arguments that Einstein developed before the EPR paper, I critically review more recent claims that equate the use of counterfactual reasoning with the assumption of a strong form of realism and argue that such claims are untenable.
- Bacciagaluppi, G., & Valentini, A. (Eds.). (2009). Quantum theory at the crossroad. Reconsidering the 1927 Solvay conference. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Bell, J. S. (1975). The theory of local beables, CERN publication TH-2053-CERN (reprinted in Bell 2004, pp. 52–62).Google Scholar
- Bertlmann, R. A., & Zeilinger, A. (Eds.). (2002). Quantum (un)speakables. From Bell to quantum information. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
- Born, M. (2005). The Born–Einstein letters 1916–1955. New York: McMillan.Google Scholar
- Einstein, A. (1949). Autobiographical notes. In P. A. Schilpp (Ed.), Albert Einstein philosopher-scientist. New York: Harper Torchbooks.Google Scholar
- Fine, A. (1986). The Shaky Game. Einstein realism and the quantum theory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Gell-Mann, M., & Hartle, J. (1989). Quantum mechanics in light of quantum cosmology. In Proceedings of the third international symposium on the foundations of quantum mechanics, Tokyo (pp. 321–343).Google Scholar
- Home, D., & Whitaker, A. (2007). Einstein’s struggles with quantum theory. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
- Howard, D. (1993). Was Einstein really a realist? Perspectives on Science, 1, 204–251.Google Scholar
- Shimony, A. (1984). Contextual hidden variable theories and Bell’s inequalities. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 35, 25–45 (reprinted in Search for a Naturalistic World View. Vol. II Natural Science and Metaphysics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1993, pp. 104–129, reference to the reprinted edition).Google Scholar
- Stapp, H. P. (1985b). EPR: What has it taught us? In P. Lahti & P. Mittelstaedt (Eds.), Symposium on the foundations of modern physics (pp. 637–652). Singapore: World Scientific.Google Scholar
- Unruh, W. G. (2001). Is quantum mechanics non-local? In T. Placek & J. Butterfield (Eds.), Non-locality and modality (pp. 125–136). Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar