Foundations of Physics

, Volume 21, Issue 8, pp 959–975 | Cite as

The asymmetry of radiation: Reinterpreting the Wheeler-Feynman argument

  • Huw Price


This paper suggests a novel reinterpretation of the mathematical core of Wheeler-Feynman absorber theory, and hence a new route to the conclusion that the temporal asymmetry of classical electromagnetic radiation has the same origin as that of thermodynamics. The argument begins (Sec. 2) with a careful analysis of what the apparent asymmetry of radiation actually involves. Two major flaws in the standard version of the Wheeler-Feynman treatment of radiative asymmetry are then identified (Secs. 4–5), and the proposed reinterpretation is described (Sec. 6). This avoids the two flaws previously mentioned, and also the problematic dependence of radiation on cosmological structure.


Radiation Electromagnetic Radiation Careful Analysis Major Flaw Standard Version 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Huw Price
    • 1
  1. 1.Traditional and Modern PhilosophyUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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