Quantum holism: nonseparability as common ground

Jenann Ismael, Jonathan Schaffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Quantum mechanics seems to portray nature as nonseparable, in the sense that it allows spatiotemporally separated entities to have states that cannot be fully specified without reference to each other. This is often said to implicate some form of “holism.” We aim to clarify what this means, and why this seems plausible. Our core idea is that the best explanation for nonseparability is a “common ground” explanation (modeled after common cause explanations), which casts nonseparable entities in a holistic light, as scattered reflections of a more unified underlying reality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4131-4160
Number of pages30
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Common ground
  • Entanglement
  • Grounding
  • Holism
  • Monism
  • Non-separability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Quantum holism: nonseparability as common ground'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this