Advertisement

Passion at a Distance

  • Don HowardEmail author
Chapter
Part of the The Western Ontario Series in Philosophy of Science book series (WONS, volume 73)

In 1984, Abner Shimony invented the expression, “passion at a distance,” to characterize the distinctive relationship of two entangled quantum mechanical systems [1]. It is neither the local causality of pushes, pulls, and central forces familiar from classical mechanics and electrodynamics, nor the non-local causality of instantaneous or just superluminal action at a distance that would spell trouble for relativity theory. This mode of connection of entangled systems has them feeling one another's presence and properties enough to ensure the strong correlations revealed in the Bell experiments, correlations that undergird everything from superfluidity and superconductivity to quantum computing and quantum teleportation, but not in a way that permits direct control of one by manipulation of the other. Intended to echo Aristotle's distinguishing of “potentiality” from “actuality” as different senses of “being,” Shimony's “passion at a distance” is all about tendency and propensity, not the concreteness whose misplacement in realm of the physical was lamented by Alfred North Whitehead.

No metaphor is better suited, however, to describe as well the feelings of Abner's students, colleagues, and friends for his presence in their lives and for the character that he brings to his own work, to his work with others, and to the world whose betterment has been his abiding aim. However great the distances later grow, world lines once intersecting Abner's remain forever entangled with his in this passionate way. Here are lives and careers with outcomes that will never again be independent, however much the outward parameters might differ and change.

Keywords

Bell Inequality Evolutionary Epistemology Naturalistic Epistemology Epistemic Probability Bell Experiment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Shimony, A. (1985). “Controllable and Uncontrollable Non-locality.” In Kamefuchi, S. et al., eds. Foundations of Quantum Mechanics in the Light of New Technology (Tokyo: The Physical Society of Japan), 225–230; reprinted in [7], vol. 2, 130–139.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cohen, R.S.; Horne, M.; and Stachel, J. eds. (1997). Quantum Mechanical Studies for Abner Shimony. Vol. 1, Experimental Metaphysics. Vol. 2, Potentiality, Entanglement, and Passion-at-a-Distance (Dordrecht: Kluwer).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Shimony, A. (1997). Tibaldo and the Hole in the Calendar (New York: Springer-Verlag).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Campbell, Donald (1974). “Evolutionary Epistemology,” in Schilpp, P.A. ed., The Philosophy of Karl R. Popper. La Salle, Il: Open Court, 412–63.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Shimony, A. (1971). “Perception from an Evolutionary Point of View.” Journal of Philosophy 68, 571–583; reprinted in [7], vol. 1, 79–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Shimony, A. (1981). “Integral Epistemology.” In Brewer, M. and Collins, B., eds. Scientific Inquiry and the Social Sciences (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass), 98–123; reprinted in [7], vol. 1, 3–20.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Shimony, A. (1993). Search for a Naturalistic World View, 2 vols. (CambrIDge: CambrIDge University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Another noteworthy expression of Abner's long interest in naturalism is the collection that he co-edited with Debra Nails, Naturalistic Epistemology: A Symposium of Two Decades (Dordrecht: ReIDel, 1987), which celebrates and is mainly built around the various perspectives on naturalism long prominent in discussions at Abner's principal professional home, Boston University.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Shimony, A. (1970). “Scientific Inference.” In Colodny, R., ed. The Nature and Function of Scientific Theories (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press), 79–172; reprinted in [7], vol. 1, 183–273.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Szilard, L. (1929). “Ü ber die Entropieverminderung in einem thermodynamischen System bei Eingriffen intelligenter Wesen.” Zeitschrift für Physik 53, 840–856.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Carnap, R. (1978). Two Essays on Entropy. A. Shimony, ed. (Berkeley: University of California Press).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    See Shimony, A. (1965). “Quantum Physics and the Philosophy of Whitehead.” In Black, M., ed. Philosophy in America (London: Allen and Unwin), 240–261; reprinted in [7], vol. 2, 291–309.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Everett, H. (1957). “‘Relative State’ Formulation of Quantum Mechanics.” Reviews of Modern Physics 29, 454–462.CrossRefMathSciNetADSGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Bohm, D. (1952). “A Suggested Interpretation of the Quantum Theory in Terms of ‘HIDden’ Variables.” Physical Review 85, 166–179, 180–193.CrossRefMathSciNetADSGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Shimony, A. (1963). “Role of the Observer in Quantum Theory.” American Journal of Physics 31, 755–773; reprinted in [7], vol. 2, 3–33.zbMATHCrossRefMathSciNetADSGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Clauser, J.F.; Horne, M.A.; Shimony, A.; and Holt, R.A. (1969). “Proposed Experiment to Test Local HIDden-Variable Theories.” Physical Review Letters 23, 880–884.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Best is the brand-new telling in: Gilder, L. (2008). The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn (New York: Knopf).Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Jarrett, J. (1984). “On the Physical Significance of the Locality Conditions in the Bell Arguments.” NOÛ S 18, 569–589. See also Jarrett, J. (1989). “Bell's Theorem: A GuIDe to the Implications.” In Cushing, J. and McMullin, E., eds. Philosophical Consequences of Quantum Theory: Reflections on Bell's Theorem (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press), 60–79.CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Shimony, A. (1986). “Events and Processes in the Quantum World.” In Penrose, R. and Isham, C.J., eds. Quantum Concepts in Space and Time (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 182–203; reprinted in [7] vol. 2, 140–162.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    See Don Howard (1985), “Einstein on Locality and Separability,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 16, 171–201.CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Shimony, A. and Feshbach, H., eds. (1982). Physics as Natural Philosophy: Essays in Honor of Laszlo Tisza on His Seventy-fifth Birthday (CambrIDge, MA: MIT Press).Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Shimony, A., ed. (1997). The Collected Works of Eugene Paul Wigner. Part A, Vol. 3, Part 2, Foundations of Quantum Mechanics (Berlin and HeIDelberg: Springer-Verlag).Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Horne, M.A.; Shimony, A.; and Zeilinger, A., eds. (2000). Festschrift for Daniel Greenberger. Foundations of Physics 29, nos. 3 & 4.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Malament, D., ed. (2002). Reading Natural Philosophy: Essays in the History and Philosophy of Science and Mathematics (Chicago: Open Court). This is a Festschrift for Howard Stein, with an introduction by Shimony.zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Ashtekar, A.; Cohen, R.S.; Howard, D.; Renn, J.; Sarkar, S.; and Shimony, A. (2003). Revisiting the Foundations of Relativistic Physics: Festschrift in Honor of John Stachel (Dordrecht: Kluwer).Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Shimony, A., ed. (2006). Science, Understanding, and Justice: The Philosophical Essays of Martin Eger (Chicago: Open Court).Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    See Abner's forthcoming edition, with an introduction, of Annemarie's Iroquois Portraits (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, and Program in History and Philosophy of ScienceUniversity of Notre DameNotre Dame

Personalised recommendations