Null Cones in Lorentz-Covariant General Relativity

Publication Year:
2001
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Repository URL:
http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/481
Author(s):
Pitts, J. Brian; Schieve, W. C.
preprint description
The oft-neglected issue of the causal structure in the flat spacetime approach to Einstein's theory of gravity is considered. Consistency requires that the flat metric's null cone be respected, but this does not automatically happen. After reviewing the history of this problem, we introduce a generalized eigenvector formalism to give a kinematic description of the relation between the two null cones, based on the Segre' classification of symmetric rank 2 tensors with respect to a Lorentzian metric. Then we propose a method to enforce special relativistic causality by using the gauge freedom to restrict the configuration space suitably. A set of new variables just covers this smaller configuration space and respects the flat metric's null cone automatically. Respecting the flat metric's null cone ensures that the spacetime is globally hyperbolic, indicating that the Hawking black hole information loss paradox does not arise in the special relativistic approach to Einstein's theory.