PhilSci Archive

Causality re-established

D'Ariano, Giacomo Mauro (2018) Causality re-established. [Preprint]

Archive (
1804.10810.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (748kB) | Preview


Causality never gained the status of a "law" or "principle" in physics. Some recent literature even popularized the false idea that causality is a notion that should be banned from theory. Such misconception relies on an alleged universality of reversibility of laws of physics, based either on determinism of classical theory, or on the multiverse interpretation of quantum theory, in both cases motivated by mere interpretational requirements for realism of the theory. Here, I will show that a properly defined unambiguous notion of causality is a theorem of quantum theory, which is also a falsifiable proposition of the theory. Such causality notion appeared in the literature within the framework of operational probabilistic theories. It is a genuinely theoretical notion, corresponding to establish a definite partial order among events, in the same way as we do by using the future causal cone on Minkowski space. The causality notion is logically completely independent of the misidentified concept of "determinism", and, being a consequence of quantum theory, is ubiquitous in physics. In addition, as classical theory can be regarded as a restriction of quantum theory, causality holds also in the classical case, although the determinism of the theory trivializes it. I then conclude arguing that causality naturally establishes an arrow of time. This implies that the scenario of the "Block Universe" and the connected "Past Hypothesis" are incompatible with causality, and thus with quantum theory: they both are doomed to remain mere interpretations and, as such, not falsifiable, similar to the hypothesis of "super-determinism". This article is part of a discussion meeting issue "Foundations of quantum mechanics and their impact on contemporary society".

Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Preprint
D'Ariano, Giacomo Maurogiacomo.dariano@unipv.it0000-0003-0602-5519
Keywords: Causality, Quantum Theory, Foundations of Quantum Theory, Foundations of Physics
Subjects: General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Prof. Giacomo Mauro D'Ariano
Date Deposited: 07 May 2018 14:16
Last Modified: 07 May 2018 14:16
Item ID: 14653
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A
Official URL:
Subjects: General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 28 April 2018

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item