Sharpening the Electromagnetic Arrow(s) of Time

In Craig Callender (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Time. Oxford University Press (2011)
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Abstract

Time in electromagnetism shares many features with time in other physical theories. But there is one aspect of electromagnetism's relationship with time that has always been controversial, yet has not always attracted the limelight it deserves: the electromagnetic arrow of time. Beginning with a re-analysis of a famous argument between Ritz and Einstein over the origins of the radiation arrow, this chapter frames the debate between modern Einsteinians and neo-Ritzians. It tries to find a clean statement of what the arrow is and then explains how it relates to the cosmological and thermodynamic arrows, representing the most developed and sophisticated attack yet, in either the physics or philosophy literature, on the electromagnetic arrow of time.

Author's Profile

John Earman
University of Pittsburgh

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