Text and Context in Maxwell’s Electromagnetic Theory
It is a common observation that the considerable effort invested in historical and philosophical study of the work of James Clerk Maxwell in electromagnetic theory has not been handsomely repaid: the effort seems not to have been cumulative, generating rather more questions than answers. Characteristically, trenchantly — and perhaps a bit extravagantly — Paul Forman has “described the [Maxwell] enterprise as a vortex in a draining sink that continually sweeps in new intellects and new ideas, which just as continually vanish.”1 (The allusion is to Maxwell’s vortex theory of electricity and magnetism;2 I shall have more to say both about allusions in various kinds of discourse and about Maxwell’s vortex theory.)
KeywordsScience Discipline Electromagnetic Theory Displacement Current Pair Innovation Physical Line
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