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Against Dogma: On Superluminal Propagation in Classical Electromagnetism

Weatherall, James Owen (2014) Against Dogma: On Superluminal Propagation in Classical Electromagnetism. [Preprint]

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Abstract

It is deeply entrenched dogma that relativity theory prohibits superluminal propagation. It is also experimentally well-established that under some circumstances, classical electromagnetic fields propagate through a dielectric medium with superluminal group velocities and superluminal phase velocities. But it is usually claimed that these superluminal velocities do not violate the relativistic prohibition. Here I analyze electromagnetic fields in a dielectric medium within a framework for understanding superluminal propagation recently developed by Geroch(1996, 2011) and elaborated by Earman(2014). I will argue that for some parameter values, electromagnetic fields do propagate superluminally in the Geroch-Earman sense.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Weatherall, James Owenweatherj@uci.edu
Additional Information: Forthcoming in Studies in the History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Keywords: Electromagnetism; superluminal propagation; special relativity; Gordon metric
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Depositing User: James Owen Weatherall
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2014 04:43
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2014 18:07
Item ID: 11001
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
Date: 2014
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/11001

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