Lessons of Bell's Theorem: Nonlocality, yes; Action at a distance, not necessarily

In Mary Bell & Shan Gao (eds.), Quantum Nonlocality and Reality: 50 Years of Bell's Theorem. Cambridge University Press. pp. 238-260 (2016)
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Abstract

Fifty years after the publication of Bell's theorem, there remains some controversy regarding what the theorem is telling us about quantum mechanics, and what the experimental violations of Bell inequalities are telling us about the world. This chapter represents my best attempt to be clear about what I think the lessons are. In brief: there is some sort of nonlocality inherent in any quantum theory, and, moreover, in any theory that reproduces, even approximately, the quantum probabilities for the outcomes of experiments. But not all forms of nonlocality are the same; there is a distinction to be made between action at a distance and other forms of nonlocality, and I will argue that the nonlocality required to violate the Bell inequalities need not involve action at a distance. Furthermore, the distinction between forms of nonlocality makes a difference when it comes to compatibility with relativistic causal structure.

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