Foundations of Physics

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 585–601 | Cite as

Local Realism and Conditional Probability

  • Allen Stairs
  • Jeffrey BubEmail author

Emilio Santos has argued (Santos, Studies in History and Philosophy of Physics http: //arxiv-org/abs/quant-ph/0410193) that to date, no experiment has provided a loophole-free refutation of Bell’s inequalities. He believes that this provides strong evidence for the principle of local realism, and argues that we should reject this principle only if we have extremely strong evidence. However, recent work by Malley and Fine (Non-commuting observables and local realism, http: //arxiv-org/abs/quant-ph/0505016) appears to suggest that experiments refuting Bell’s inequalities could at most confirm that quantum mechanical quantities do not commute. They also suggest that experiments performed on a single system could refute local realism. In this paper, we develop a connection between the work of Malley and Fine and an argument by Bub from some years ago [Bub, The Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, Chapter VI(Reidel, Dodrecht,1974)]. We also argue that the appearance of conflict between Santos on the one hand and Malley and Fine on the other is a result of differences in the way they understand local realism.


Bell’s inequality local realism hidden variables nonlocality Kochen–Specker theorem quantum conditional probability 




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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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