Most mistakes in philosophy and logic occur because the human mind is apt to take the symbol for reality.

Albert Einstein

Abner Shimony - Biography

Abner Shimony (born 1928, Columbus, Ohio) is an American physicist and philosopher of science specializing in quantum theory.


Shimony obtained his BA in Mathematics and Philosophy from Yale University in 1948, and an MA in Philosophy from the University of Chicago in 1950. He obtained his Ph.D. in philosophy from Yale University in 1953, and in physics from Princeton University in 1962, under the supervision of Eugene Wigner. He served in the U. S. Army Signal Corps from 1953 to 1955. He is currently Prof. Emeritus at Boston University, where he taught for several decades as a faculty member in both the physics and philosophy departments.

Shimony is best known for his work in developing the CHSH inequality, an empirically testable form of the Bell inequality, also known as Bell's theorem. Since 1992, he proposed a geometric measure of quantum entanglement and, along with Gregg Jaeger and Michael Horne, discovered two novel complementarity relations involving interferometric visibility in multiparticle quantum interferometry.

He is also known for his inquiry into the question of the "peaceful coexistence" of quantum mechanics and special relativity. He has written numerous books and research articles on the foundations of quantum mechanics and related topics. Shimony is credited with the phrase "passion at a distance" to characterize the various phenomena described by quantum correlations.

In 1996 he was awarded the Lakatos Award in the philosophy of science for the two-volume collection of papers, The Search for a Naturalistic World View, spanning his career up until 1992. He served as president of the Philosophy of Science Association from 1995 to 1996.

Shimony was married to the noted anthropologist Annemarie Anrod Shimony.

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