Is There an Independent Principle of Causality in Physics? A Comment on Matthias Frisch, “Causal Reasoning in Physics.”

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Norton, John D.
conference paper description
Matthias Frisch has argued that the requirement that electromagnetic dispersion processes are causal adds empirical content not found in electrodynamic theory. I urge that this attempt to reconstitute a local principle of causality in physics fails. An independent principle is not needed to recover the results of dispersion theory. The use of “causality conditions” prove to be either an exercise in relabeling an already presumed fact; or, if one seeks a broader, independently formulated grounding for the conditions, that grounding either fails or dissolves into vagueness and ambiguity, as has traditionally been the fate of candidate principles of causality.