Quantum Field Theory: Motivating the Axiom of Microcausality
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Axiomatic quantum field theory is one approach to the project of merging the special theory of relativity with that of ordinary quantum mechanics. The project begins with the postulation of a set of axioms. Axioms should be motivated by reasonable physical principles in a way that illustrates how a given axiom is true. Motivations are often grounded in the principles of the parent theories: ordinary quantum mechanics or the theory of special relativity. Amongst the set of axioms first proposed by Haag and Kastler in 1963 is the axiom of microcausality. Microcausality requires the observables of regions at space-like separation to commute. This thesis seeks to answer the question ‘What principles from the special theory of relativity or ordinary quantum mechanics motivate, or justify, accepting microcausality as an axiom?’ The first chapter will provide the necessary background to investigate this question and the second chapter will undertake that investigation. In conclusion, microcausality cannot be well-motivated by individual principles rooted in the special theory of relativity or ordinary quantum mechanics.