Local Realism and the Crucial experiment

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Scientific Paper
Title Local Realism and the Crucial experiment
Author(s) Yoav Ben-Dov
Keywords realism, crucial experiment, quantum mechanics, formalism, alternative theory
Published 1994
Pages 571-574


It is well known that the history of quantum mechanics is riddled with conceptual debates. The most famous debate is that which took place between Einstein and Bohr from 1927 onwards, and in which the two protagonists can be taken as representing two possible answers to what is perhaps the most central question concerning quantum mechanics. Both sides in this debate agree that the usual quantum formalism, as developed by Heisenberg, Schroedinger and Dirac, is inconsistent with what was believed, from the 17th century onwards, to be the central prerequisites of a sound physical theory: determinism, locality (which means that things don't act at places where they are not present), clear separation between object and subject (what we shall call here "realism" - the view that physical reality can be defined "as it is" without any reference to an observer), and so on. They differ, however, in their reaction to this situation. Should we look for an alternative theory, which would satisfy these prerequisites while still accounting for the observed quantum phenomena (Einstein's position), or should we rather accept quantum mechanics as it is, and try to adapt our epistemological prerequisites to the new formalism (Bohr's position)?