Causality and chance in relativistic quantum field theories

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Richard A. Healey
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preprint description
Bell appealed to the theory of relativity in formulating his principle of local causality. But he maintained that quantum field theories do not conform to that principle, even when their field equations are relativistically covariant and their observable algebras satisfy a relativistically motivated microcausality condition. A pragmatist view of quantum theory and an interventionist approach to causation prompt the reevaluation of local causality and microcausality. Local causality cannot be understood as a reasonable requirement on relativistic quantum field theories: it is unmotivated even if applicable to them. But microcausality emerges as a sufficient condition for the consistent application of a relativistic quantum field theory.

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