Shimony was born in Columbus, Ohio. He 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 under the supervision of Rudolf Carnap, and served in the U. S. Army Signal Corps from 1953 to 1955. Shimony acquired his second doctorate in physics from Princeton University in 1962, under the supervision of Eugene Wigner.
After receiving his second Ph.D., Shimony interacted with both the philosophical academic world and the physics academic world. His most famous professional correspondence is with Rudolf Carnap. He was 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 wrote several books and numerous 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. He died in New Haven, Connecticut, aged 87.
- Shimony, Abner. "Correspondence between Shimony and Carnap" (PDF). Abner Shimony's Papers. Special Collections Department, University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
- J.F. Clauser, M.A. Horne, A. Shimony, R.A. Holt (1969), "Proposed experiment to test local hidden-variable theories", Phys. Rev. Lett. 23 (15): 880–4, Bibcode:1969PhRvL..23..880C, doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.23.880
- "Abner Shimony Obituary". Boston Globe. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- 1987. "edited by Abner Shimony & Debra Nails; Naturalistic Epistemology: A Symposium of Two Decades (Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science Volume 100)" ISBN 90-277-2337-0
- 1993. "Abner Shimony Selected Papers, Search for a Naturalistic World View, Volume 1, Scientific Method and Epistemology" ISBN 0-521-37352-2
- 1993. "Abner Shimony Selected Papers, Search for a Naturalistic World View, Volume 2, Natural Science and Metaphysics" ISBN 0-521-37353-0
- 1998, "Tibaldo and the Hole in the Calendar" ISBN 0-387-94935-6
- 1977. "edited by Abner Shimony; Rudolf Carnap; Two Essays on Entropy" ISBN 0-520-02715-9
- 1997. "edited by Robert S. Cohen, Michael Horne & John Stachel; Experimental Metaphysics: Quantum Mechanical Studies for Abner Shimony, Volume 1 (Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science Volume 193)" ISBN 978-0-7923-4452-0
- 1997. "edited by Robert S. Cohen, Michael Horne & John Stachel; Potentiality, Entanglement and Passion-at-a-Distance: Quantum Mechanical Studies for Abner Shimony, Volume 2 (Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science Volume 194" ISBN 0-7923-4453-7
- 1997. "edited by Malcolm Longair; Roger Penrose with Abner Shimony, Nancy Cartwright and Stephen Hawking; The Large, the Small and the Human Mind" ISBN 0-521-56330-5
- 2006. "edited by Abner Shimony; Martin Eger; Science, Understanding, and Justice: Philosophical Essays" ISBN 0-8126-9461-9
- 2009. "edited by Wayne C. Myrvold & Joy Christian; Quantum Reality, Relativistic Causality, and Closing the Epistemic Circle: Essays in Honour of Abner Shimony" ISBN 978-1-4020-9106-3
- Shimony's article on Bell's theorem in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
- Partial bibliography of philosophical papers.
- Boston University Faculty page for Abner Shimony.
- Photo of Abner Shimony during his career at BU.
- Transcript of Oral History interview with Abner Shimony, 9 September 2002, American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library and Archives.
- A recent conference held at the Perimeter Institute in honor of Abner Shimony 
- Shimony conference talks at the Perimeter Institute 
- Shimony Papers  (Abner Shimony Papers, 1947-2009, ASP.2009.02, Archives of Scientific Philosophy, Special Collections Department, University of Pittsburgh)
- Former PhD Students
- Shimony's last presentation, "Reminiscences", at the Boston Colloquium in the Philosophy of Science, at their 50th anniversary celebration, October 22, 2010