Forms of Quantum Nonseparability and Related Philosophical Consequences
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- Karakostas, V. J Gen Philos Sci (2004) 35: 283. doi:10.1007/s10838-004-0927-6
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Standard quantum mechanics unquestionably violates the separability principle that classical physics (be it point-like analytic, statistical, or field-theoretic) accustomed us to consider as valid. In this paper, quantum nonseparability is viewed as a consequence of the Hilbert-space quantum mechanical formalism, avoiding thus any direct recourse to the ramifications of Kochen-Specker’s argument or Bell’s inequality. Depending on the mode of assignment of states to physical systems – unit state vectors versus non-idempotent density operators – we distinguish between strong/relational and weak/deconstructional forms of quantum nonseparability. The origin of the latter is traced down and discussed at length, whereas its relation to the all important concept of potentiality in forming a coherent picture of the puzzling entangled interconnections among spatially separated systems is also considered. Finally, certain philosophical consequences of quantum non-separability concerning the nature of quantum objects, the question of realism in quantum mechanics, and possible limitations in revealing the actual character of physical reality in its entirety are explored.