, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 77–108 | Cite as

A theory of causality: Causality=interaction (as defined by a suitable quantum field theory)

  • Adrian Heathcote


In this paper I put forward a suggestion for identifying causality in micro-systems with the specific quantum field theoretic interactions that occur in such systems. I first argue — along the lines of general transference theories — that such a physicalistic account is essential to an understanding of causation; I then proceed to sketch the concept of interaction as it occurs in quantum field theory and I do so from both a formal and an informal point of view. Finally, I present reasons for thinking that only a quantum field theoretic account can do the job — in particular I rely on a theorem by D. Currie and to the effect that interaction cannot be described in (a Hamiltonian formulation of) Classical Mechanics. Throughout the paper I attempt to suggest that the widespread scepticism about the ability of quantum theory to support a theory of causality is mistaken and rests on several misunderstandings.


Field Theory Quantum Field Theory General Transference Quantum Theory Classical Mechanic 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adrian Heathcote
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Traditional and Modern PhilosophyUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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