Causation in Spacetime Theories

Carl Hoefer

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© The several contributors 2009. All rights reserved. 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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Causation
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2010


  • Causal anomalies
  • Causation
  • Cause-effect relations
  • Newtonian physics
  • Physical theories
  • Spacetime theories


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