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Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia

Volume 15, Issue 1, Enero 2000

Jordi Cat
Pages 59-85

Must the Microcausality Condition be Interpreted Causally?
Beyond Reduction and Matters of Fact

The ’microcausality’ condition in quantum field theory is typically presented and justified on the basis of general principles of physical causality. I explore in detail a number of alternative causal interpretations of this condition. I conclude that none is fully satisfactory, independent of further and controversial assumptions about the object and scope of quantum field theories. In particular the stronger causal readings require a fully reductionist and fundamentalist attitude to quantum field theory. I argue, in a deflationary spirit, for a reading of the ‘microcausality’ condition as merely a boundary condition, inspired by Relativity, that different possible formulations of quantum field theory must obey.

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