Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1063-1072 (2003)
Although Trautman (1966) appears to give a unified‐field treatment of electrodynamics in Newtonian spacetime, there are difficulties in cogently interpreting it as such in relation to the facts of electromagnetic and magneto‐electric induction. Presented here is a covariant, nonunified field treatment of the Maxwell‐Lorentz theory with absolute space. This dispels a worry in Earman (1989) as to whether there are any historically realistic examples in which absolute space plays an indispensable role. It also shows how Trautman's formulation can be rendered coherent, albeit at the cost of deunification, by reinterpreting the Maxwell tensor as a composite object involving, in part, elements from Newtonian spacetime.
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