Relativistic Causality in Quantum Field Theory and General Relativity
Friday - Saturday, 5-7 April 2013
Center for Philosophy of Science
817 Cathedral of Learning
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA USA
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Relativistic causality is the requirement that causal processes cannot propagate faster than light. Allegedly, such a requirement is incorporated in Einstein's theory of relativity. Indeed, relativistic causality is often referred to as Einstein's causality principle, and it is understood to determine the causal structure of spacetime. In the last two decades, however, a number of experimental and theoretical results in such diverse areas of physics as semi-classical optics, material science, and high energy particle physics have led many physicists to revisit old questions concerning what, precisely, the relativistic prohibition on superluminal causal processes amounts to. Philosophers of physics, meanwhile, have long investigated the status of relativistic causality, both in the context of the metaphysics of causation and in studies of the foundations of physical theories, with a focus on the conceptual consequences that its violation would entail. A major difficulty here is that our most fundamental relativistic theories abound with different formulations of relativistic causality. This workshop aims at contributing to a better understanding of relativistic causality in general relativity and quantum field theory, by bringing together both physicists and philosophers of physics working on the topic.
This workshop will be immediately preceded by the Irvine-Pittsburgh-Princeton Conference on the Mathematical and Conceptual Foundations of Physics on April 4, also at the Center.
John Earman (University of Pittsburgh)
Giovanni Valente (University of Pittsburgh)
Jim Weatherall (UC Irvine)