FYI: For the 2022 Physics Noble Prize announcement, see here.

First, I realize the subjective nature of any potential answers or discussions regarding this question. In spite of that, I'm still determined to introduce this topic and question.

In the high-level summary and explanation I've read/watched for this award (and its corresponding results), lots of physicists state (basically) that this means or confirms that everything (at least in a so-called "local" system - the spatial/temporal extent of which is not really clear) is probabilistic.

Assuming these results hold true, what could the outcome of this work imply in terms of how we interact with "reality" (and vice versa)?

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    This is pretty spot on: smbc-comics.com/comic/the-talk-3
    – CriglCragl
    Nov 1, 2022 at 18:29
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    The problem is not even subjectivity, it is that "what it implies about how we interact with "reality"" is as vague as "give me life advice", and just as "useful" to ask. If you want cogent answers you'll have to do your own reading and thinking first, narrow it down, and then ask something much more specific.
    – Conifold
    Nov 1, 2022 at 22:21
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    "Tim Maudlin Corrects the 2022 Nobel Physics Committee About Bell's Inequality" youtube.com/watch?v=OduDEz77h9U @Sandejo also linked a Tim Maudlin paper. If you want great insight into the philosophy of quantum physics and Bell's inequality presented by a brilliant and lucid philosopher, you should Google Tim Maudlin and watch all his videos.
    – user4894
    Nov 1, 2022 at 23:49
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    If we are talking about the empirical world, what we can see, and touch, all the knowledge we can gather about it is based on inductive reasoning (by opposition to the realm of deductive reasoning, logic and maths) and therefore already subject to uncertainty. Although I am very certain to have two hands, there is after all a non zero probability that I am mistaken (denial due to trauma, dream, etc). Adding to it the probabilistic aspect if quantum physics won't change much about the irresistible uncertainty of out knowledge about the world.
    – armand
    Nov 2, 2022 at 7:16

2 Answers 2


In the high-level summary and explanation I've read/watched… this means or confirms that everything… is probabilistic.

This is wrong. Bell's Theorem and the experiments that won this years Nobel prize say nothing about determinism. As Tim Maudlin explains in this paper, Bell's Theorem is about locality (the notion that "procedures carried out in one region do not immediately disturb the physical state of systems in sufficiently distant regions in any significant way," as Maudlin defines it), not determinism or hidden variables.

As a side note, the press release you linked has a significant error where they claim that "[t]his means that quantum mechanics cannot be replaced by a theory that uses hidden variables," which is wrong, as Bell (himself a proponent of the pilot wave theory) could have pointed out, were he still alive.


This result will have no effect on how a philosopher interacts with reality, because the scale lengths involved here are within the realm of quantum interactions and not human experience.

As a rough guide, consider the following: Quantum mechanical effects begin to arise on scale lengths that approach the diameter of a single atom. That is smaller than human scale lengths in about the same ratio as the diameter of an orange is when compared to the diameter of the Earth.

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    The world is fundamentally a quantum one. A wise philosopher would not seek to brush that under the carpet with handwaving about length scales. Emergence, the mechanism to get a classical picture from quantum particles, is itself an important topic for philosophy. Semiconductors rely on quantum effects, so any philosopher using digital technology, is having their interactions with reality changed.
    – CriglCragl
    Nov 1, 2022 at 22:57
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    Classical mechanics fails when the action is not much greater than Planck's constant, which (very roughly) is proportional to ~R(mkT)^(1/2), where R and m are the length and mass scales and T is the temperature. Quantum effects can be important for human-sized systems at low temperature: superconductivity, superfluidity, and Bose–Einstein condensates. In the future, people may interact with such non-classical systems more directly than today. Also, quantum is already part of human experience in a sense: the color of most things can't be explained without resorting to quantum theory. Nov 2, 2022 at 18:30

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