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Why firewalls need not exist


The firewall paradox for black holes is often viewed as indicating a conflict between unitarity and the equivalence principle. We elucidate how the paradox manifests as a limitation of semiclassical theory, rather than presents a conflict between fundamental principles. Two principal features of the fundamental and semiclassical theories address two versions of the paradox: the entanglement and typicality arguments. First, the physical Hilbert space describing excitations on a fixed black hole background in the semiclassical theory is exponentially smaller than the number of physical states in the fundamental theory of quantum gravity. Second, in addition to the Hilbert space for physical excitations, the semiclassical theory possesses an unphysically large Fock space built by creation and annihilation operators on the fixed black hole background. Understanding these features not only eliminates the necessity of firewalls but also leads to a new picture of Hawking emission contrasting pair creation at the horizon.

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