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Title: Causal structures in quantum field theory
Author: Sprickerhof, Jakob
ISNI:       0000 0004 5370 3981
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2015
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In this dissertation, I will argue that quantum field theory can be interpreted as a description of causal interactions. I will first discuss previous theories of physical causation, and come to the conclusion that they are inapplicable in quantum field theory. As a consequence, I will start to develop a new theory of causation by first analysing the concept ‘causation’ into the most basic and widely shared intuitions, in order to find out later whether these intuitions can be reduced to physics. I will then have a closer look on the intuition that causation is a directed relation, which is commonly regarded as incompatible with the symmetries of physics. I will present a new argument to the effect that causation and quantum field theory are compatible with respect to the directionality of causation. After that, I will analyse the theoretical description of interactions in quantum field theory, and in particular group structure, locality and local conservation laws will crystallise as the central concepts that a causal interpretation might be based on. Subsequently, I will discuss and present replies to what I believe are the most relevant objections to a causal interpretation of physics, namely, Haag’s theorem, the measurement problem and entanglement. In the final chapter of this dissertation, I will conjoin the results of the previous chapters to a new theory of causation for quantum field theory. The main result will be that a causal process is a quantum field theoretical interaction, i.e., the exchange of energy from an initial to a final state via a force.
Supervisor: French, Steven Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available