Foundations of Physics

, Volume 40, Issue 12, pp 1858–1884 | Cite as

The Theory of (Exclusively) Local Beables

  • Travis NorsenEmail author


It is shown how, starting with the de Broglie–Bohm pilot-wave theory, one can construct a new theory of the sort envisioned by several of QM’s founders: a Theory of Exclusively Local Beables (TELB). In particular, the usual quantum mechanical wave function (a function on a high-dimensional configuration space) is not among the beables posited by the new theory. Instead, each particle has an associated “pilot-wave” field (living in physical space). A number of additional fields (also fields on physical space) maintain what is described, in ordinary quantum theory, as “entanglement.” The theory allows some interesting new perspective on the kind of causation involved in pilot-wave theories in general. And it provides also a concrete example of an empirically viable quantum theory in whose formulation the wave function (on configuration space) does not appear—i.e., it is a theory according to which nothing corresponding to the configuration space wave function need actually exist. That is the theory’s raison d’etre and perhaps its only virtue. Its vices include the fact that it only reproduces the empirical predictions of the ordinary pilot-wave theory (equivalent, of course, to the predictions of ordinary quantum theory) for spinless non-relativistic particles, and only then for wave functions that are everywhere analytic. The goal is thus not to recommend the TELB proposed here as a replacement for ordinary pilot-wave theory (or ordinary quantum theory), but is rather to illustrate (with a crude first stab) that it might be possible to construct a plausible, empirically viable TELB, and to recommend this as an interesting and perhaps-fruitful program for future research.


Pilot-wave theory Bohmian mechanics Local beables Bell’s theorem Einstein 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marlboro CollegeMarlboroUSA

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