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Realism and causality. II. Retrocausality in energetic causal sets

E. Cohen, M. Cortês, A. Elitzur, L. Smolin

We describe a new form of retrocausality, which is found in the behavior of a class of causal set theories, called energetic causal sets (ECS). These are discrete sets of events, connected by causal relations. They have three orders: (1) a birth order, which is the order in which events are generated; this is a total order which is the true causal order, (2) a dynamical partial order, which prescribes the flows of energy and momentum among events, (3) an emergent causal order, which is defined by the geometry of an emergent Minkowski spacetime, in which the events of the causal sets are embedded. However, the embedding of the events in the emergent Minkowski spacetime may preserve neither the true causal order in (1) nor correspond completely with the microscopic partial order in (2). We call this disordered causality, and we here demonstrate its occurrence in specific ECS models. This is the second in a series of papers centered around the question: should we accept violations of causality as a lesser price to pay in order to keep realist formulations of quantum theory? We begin to address this in the first paper [E. Cohen, M. Cortês, A. C. Elitzur, and L. Smolin, preceding paper, Realism and causality. I. Pilot wave and retrocausal models as possible facilitators, Phys. Rev. D 102, 124027 (2020).] and continue here by giving an explicit example of an ECS model in the classical regime, in which causality is disordered.

General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology; Quantum Physics

Physical Review D
Volume 102, Issue 12
2020 December

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Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia