Bell's theorem, realism, and locality

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Lewis, Peter J.
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preprint description
According to a recent paper by Tim Maudlin, Bell’s theorem has nothing to tell us about realism or the descriptive completeness of quantum mechanics. What it shows is that quantum mechanics is non-local, no more and no less. What I intend to do in this paper is to challenge Maudlin’s assertion about the import of Bell’s proof. There is much that I agree with in the paper; in particular, it does us the valuable service of demonstrating (hopefully once and for all) that Einstein’s objections to quantum mechanics have nothing to do with its (supposed) indeterminism. But I do think that Maudlin’s conclusion is overly cut-and-dried. Quantum mechanics (as Maudlin would be the first to admit) is far from a unified edifice, and what Bell’s theorem shows depends on what version of quantum mechanics you look at. In particular, I’ll try to make the case that there’s an interesting, if ultimately uncompelling anti-realist construal of the import of Bell’s theorem. And I also want to suggest that locality isn’t quite as decisively defeated as Maudlin claims.