Bell’s Theorem, Realism, and Locality

  • Peter J. Lewis
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 406)


Bell’s theorem is sometimes taken to show that quantum mechanics undermines scientific realism. If so, this would be a striking empirical argument against realism. However, Maudlin has claimed that this is a mistake, since Bell’s theorem has precisely one conclusion—namely that quantum mechanics is non-local. I argue here that matters are more complicated than Maudlin acknowledges: quantum mechanics is not a unified theory, and what Bell’s theorem shows of it depends on which interpretation turns out to be tenable. I conclude that while the lesson of Bell’s theorem could be that quantum mechanics is non-local, it could equally be that measurements have multiple outcomes, or that effects can come before their causes, or even, as the anti-realist contends, that no description of the quantum world can be given.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter J. Lewis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA

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