Quantum measurement predictions are consistent with relativity for macroscopic observations, but there is no consensus on how to explain this consistency in fundamental terms. The prevailing assumption is that the relativistic structure of spacetime should provide the framework for any microphysical account. This bias is due, in large part, to our intuitions about local causality, the idea that all physical processes propagate through space in a continuous manner. I argue that relativity is not a guarantor of local causality, and is not about ontological features of spacetime. It is, rather, an expression of the observational equivalence of spacetime descriptions of physical processes. This observational equivalence is due to the essentially probabilistic nature of quantum theory.
- Pub Date:
- October 2012
- Physics - History and Philosophy of Physics;
- General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology;
- Quantum Physics
- 11 pages. Written for the 2012 FQXi essay contest "Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions Are Wrong?"