Outcome predictions and property attribution: the EPR argument reconsidered

Abstract

We reconsider the nonlocal aspects of quantum mechanics with special reference to the EPR argument. We first confine our considerations to the correlations between the outcomes of measurements on spatially distant constituents, without worrying about the measurement problem. We pay particular attention to the relativistic aspects of the problem. Our first conclusion is that, when developed along the lines we follow, the EPR inference that quantum correlations and locality together imply incompleteness, is appropriate. We then investigate whether the other common conclusion from the EPR argument, i.e. that standard quantum theory implies a spooky action at a distance, is correct. We emphasize the crucial role played by the locality assumption and we discuss the use of counterfactuals in the ‘relativistic’ reformulation of the EPR argument. We show that the above conclusion is false if understood as saying that standard quantum theory exhibits, at least with reference to possessed elements of physical reality, some sort of parameter dependence. Thus, in a sense, the coexistence of quantum mechanics with relativity is even more peaceful than commonly thought. We then go through a similar analysis by taking explicitly into account the measurement process. We point out the difficulties which one meets when confronting reduction mechanisms with relativistic requirements. This leads us to recognize the necessity of reconsidering the criteria for attributing objective properties to individual physical systems. Our final conclusion is that, in principle, it is perfectly possible to build up theories leading to the objectification of macroscopic properties which do not imply any spooky action at a distance.

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,722

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2010-09-02

Downloads
41 (#280,829)

6 months
2 (#258,871)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

Relativistic Quantum Becoming.Wayne C. Myrvold - 2003 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (3):475-500.
Are GRW Tails as Bad as They Say?Alberto Cordero - 1999 - Philosophy of Science 66 (3):71.

View all 20 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Quantum Mechanics as a Consistency Condition on Initial and Final Boundary Conditions.David John Miller - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (4):767-781.
Quantum Locality.Robert B. Griffiths - 2011 - Foundations of Physics 41 (4):705-733.
Conspiracy Theories of Quantum Mechanics.Peter J. Lewis - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (2):359-381.
A Stronger Bell Argument for (Some Kind of) Parameter Dependence.Paul M. Näger - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 72:1-28.
From Micro to Macro: A Solution to the Measurement Problem of Quantum Mechanics.Jeffrey Bub - 1988 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:134 - 144.
From Physics to Philosophy.Jeremy Butterfield & Constantine Pagonis (eds.) - 1999 - Cambridge University Press.
Making Quantum Theory Compatible with Realism.GianCarlo Ghirardi - 2002 - Foundations of Science 7 (1-2):11-47.
Quantum Mechanics, Propensities, and Realism.In-rae Cho - 1990 - Dissertation, The Johns Hopkins University