Journal Article

Frisch, Muller, and Belot on an Inconsistency in Classical Electrodynamics

Peter Vickers

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 59, issue 4, pages 767-792
Published in print December 2008 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online December 2008 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axn039
Frisch, Muller, and Belot on an Inconsistency in Classical Electrodynamics

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This paper follows up a debate as to whether classical electrodynamics is inconsistent. Mathias Frisch makes the claim in Inconsistency, Asymmetry and Non-Locality ([2005]), but this has been quickly countered by F. A. Muller ([2007]) and Gordon Belot ([2007]). Here I argue that both Muller and Belot fail to connect with the background assumptions that support Frisch's claim. Responding to Belot I explicate Frisch's position in more detail, before providing my own criticisms. Correcting Frisch's position, I find that I can present the theory in a way both authors can agree upon. Differences then manifest themselves purely within the reasoning methods employed.

Introduction

Features of the Theory

Frisch's Inconsistency Claim

Defending Frisch 4.1

Muller

4.2

Belot

Difficulties for Frisch and a Compromise

Conclusion

Journal Article.  11947 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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