Foundations of Physics

, Volume 43, Issue 9, pp 1153–1169 | Cite as

The Scope and Generality of Bell’s Theorem

  • James Owen Weatherall


I present what might seem to be a local, deterministic model of the EPR-Bohm experiment, inspired by recent work by Joy Christian, that appears at first blush to be in tension with Bell-type theorems. I argue that the model ultimately fails to do what a hidden variable theory needs to do, but that it is interesting nonetheless because the way it fails helps clarify the scope and generality of Bell-type theorems. I formulate and prove a minor proposition that makes explicit how Bell-type theorems rule out models of the sort I describe here.


Bell’s theorem Hidden variable theory Joy Christian 



I am grateful to Shelly Goldstein, David Malament, John Manchak, Florin Moldoveanu, Abner Shimony, Howard Stein, and an anonymous referee for helpful comments on a previous draft of this paper. Thank you, too, to Jeff Barrett, Harvey Brown, David Malament, and Tim Maudlin for discussions on these and related topics and to David Hestenes for a helpful email exchange on Clifford algebras. I am especially grateful to Joy Christian for an informative correspondence and for his kind help on this project despite our continued disagreement. Finally, this paper has benefited from audiences at the Southern California Philosophy of Physics Group and the Maryland Foundations of Physics Group, and I am grateful to Christian Wüthrich and Jeff Bub for inviting me to make these presentation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Logic and Philosophy of ScienceUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA

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