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B Maxwell Theory

  1. Mar 30, 2016 #1
    "Maxwell's electrodynamics proceeds in the same unusual way already analyzed in studying his electrostatics. Under the influence of hypotheses which remain vague and undefined in his mind, Maxwell sketches a theory which he never completes, he does not even bother to remove contradictions from it; then he starts changing this theory, he imposes on it essential modifications which he does not notify to his reader; the latter tries in vain to fix the fugitive and intangible thought of the author; just when he thinks he has got it, even the parts of the doctrine dealing with the best studied phenomena are seen to vanish. And yet this strange and disconcerting method led Maxwell to the electromagnetic theory of light!" (Duhem, 1902).

    What is this Duhem talking about. Is he a real person or what?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 30, 2016 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Duhem was a French physicist and philosopher of science:


    The passage you quote is not really talking about physics but is more philosophy of science, and is therefore not a good discussion topic per the PF rules. Therefore, this thread is closed.
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