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Maxwellian Electrodynamics Genesis and Development: Intertheoretic Context

Nugayev, Rinat Magdievich (2016) Maxwellian Electrodynamics Genesis and Development: Intertheoretic Context. Spontaneous Generations: A Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science, 8 (1). pp. 55-92. ISSN 1913-0465

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Abstract

Key words: rationality, communication, maxwellian revolution, Ampere-Weber research programme, synthesis, Kantian epistemology .Abstract. Why did Maxwell’s programme supersede the Ampere-Weber one? – To answer the question one has to consider the intertheoretic context of maxwellian electrodynamics genesis and development.It is demonstrated that maxwellian electrodynamics was created as a result of the old pre-maxwellian programmes reconciliation: the electrodynamics of Ampere-Weber, the wave theory of Young-Fresnel and Faraday’s programme. The programmes’ meeting led to construction of the hybrid theory at first with an irregular set of theoretical schemes. However, step by step, on revealing and gradual eliminating the contradictions between the programmes involved, the hybrid set is “put into order” (Maxwell’s term).A hierarchy of theoretical schemes starting from the crossbreeds (the displacement current) and up to usual hybrids is set up. And after the displacement current construction the interpenetration of the pre-maxwellian programmes begins that markes the commencement of theoretical schemes of optics and electromagnetism real unification. Maxwell’s programme did supersede the Ampere-Weber one because it did assimilate the ideas of the Ampere-Weber programme, as well as the presuppositions of the programmes of Young-Fresnel and Faraday properly co-ordinating them with each other. But the opposite proposition is not true. Ampere-Weber programme did not assimilate the propositions of the Maxwellian programme. Maxwell’s victory became possible because the core of Maxwell’s unification strategy was formed by Kantian epistemology looked through the prism of William Whewell and such representatives of Scottish Enlightenment as Thomas Reid and William Hamilton. Maxwell did put forward as a basic synthetic principle the idea that radically differed from that of Ampere-Weber approach by its open, flexible and contra-ontological, strictly epistemological, Kantian character. For Maxwell, ether was not the last building block of physical reality, from which all the charges and fields should be constructed. “Action at a distance”, “incompressible fluid”, “molecular vortices” were contrived analogies for Maxwell, capable only to direct the researcher at the “right” mathematical relations.Namely the application of Kantian epistemology enabled Hermann von Helmholtz and his pupil Heinrich Hertz to arrive at such a version of Maxwell’s theory that served a heuristical basis for the radio waves discovery.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Nugayev, Rinat Magdievich
Keywords: Scientific Realism; Epistemic Issues; Epistemology of Science
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Technology
General Issues > Values In Science
Depositing User: Jordan Miller
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2021 13:05
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 13:05
Item ID: 17844
Journal or Publication Title: Spontaneous Generations: A Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science
Publisher: The University of Toronto
Official URL: https://spontaneousgenerations.library.utoronto.ca...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.4245/sponge.v8i1.19467
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Technology
General Issues > Values In Science
Date: 17 June 2016
Page Range: pp. 55-92
Volume: 8
Number: 1
ISSN: 1913-0465
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17844

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