Retrocausation and the formal assimilation of classical electrodynamics to Newtonian mechanics: A reply to Nissim-Sabat's "on Grunbaum and retrocausation"
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of Science 46 (1):136-160 (1979)
Dirac's classical electrodynamics countenances "preaccelerations" of charged particles at a time t as mathematical functions of external forces applied after the time t. These preaccelerations have been interpreted as evidence for physical retrocausation upon assuming that, in electrodynamics no less than in Newton's second law, external forces sustain an asymmetric causal relation to accelerations. And this retrocausal interpretation has just been defended against the critiques in (Grunbaum 1976), (Grunbaum and Janis, 1977 and 1978) by appeal to the formal assimilation of the electrodynamic laws of motion to Newton's second law. It is argued below that this latest defense of the retrocausal interpretation is even more ill-founded than the prior ones in the literature
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