The asymmetry of radiation: Reinterpreting the Wheeler-Feynman argument

Foundations of Physics 21 (8):959-975 (1991)

Abstract

This paper suggests a novel reinterpretation of the mathematical core of Wheeler-Feynman absorber theory, and hence a new route to the conclusion that the temporal asymmetry of classical electromagnetic radiation has the same origin as that of thermodynamics. The argument begins (Sec. 2) with a careful analysis of what the apparent asymmetry of radiation actually involves. Two major flaws in the standard version of the Wheeler-Feynman treatment of radiative asymmetry are then identified (Secs. 4–5), and the proposed reinterpretation is described (Sec. 6). This avoids the two flaws previously mentioned, and also the problematic dependence of radiation on cosmological structure

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Huw Price
University of Bonn

Citations of this work

(Dis-)Solving the Puzzle of the Arrow of Radiation.Mathias Frisch - 2000 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51 (3):381-410.
The Philosophical Underpinning of the Absorber Theory of Radiation.Marco Forgione - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 72:91-106.
The Direction of Causation: Ramsey's Ultimate Contingency.Huw Price - 1992 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:253 - 267.
Alternative Explanations of the Cosmic Microwave Background: A Historical and an Epistemological Perspective.Milan M. Ćirković & Slobodan Perović - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 62:1-18.

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