Causation in Spacetime Theories

Carl Hoefer

in The Oxford Handbook of Causation

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199279739
Published online January 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Causation in Spacetime Theories

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Although Russell maintained that causation was not to be found in advanced physical theories (which is described in this article), even he would have admitted that, if one must talk of cause–effect relations between events, then spacetime theories may well place constraints on what sorts of causal relations may exist and how they may be arranged in time. They may also imply the possibility of surprising and unexpected causal relations, and even serious causal anomalies. This article looks at what the three most important spacetime theories imply about causation. It starts with a brief look at Newtonian physics, looks at how important changes are introduced by Special Relativity theory, and finally turns to the rich causal fields of General Relativity models.

Keywords: causation; physical theories; cause–effect relations; spacetime theories; causal anomalies; Newtonian physics

Article.  6131 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Philosophy of Science

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