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ABSTRACT

Traditional derivations of general relativity from the graviton degrees of freedom assume space-time Lorentz covariance as an axiom. In this essay, we survey recent evidence that general relativity is the unique spatially-covariant effective field theory of the transverse, traceless graviton degrees of freedom. The Lorentz covariance of general relativity, having not been assumed in our analysis, is thus plausibly interpreted as an accidental or emergent symmetry of the gravitational sector. From this point of view, Lorentz covariance is a necessary feature of low-energy graviton dynamics, not a property of space-time. This result has revolutionary implications for fundamental physics.

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