Friday, March 3, 2023

Force-realism and simultaneous causation

If a charged particle is an electromagnetic field, the field exerts a Lorentz force F = qE + qv × B, where q and v are the charge and velocity of the particle, E is the electric field and B is the magnetic field. All of these quantities are taken at one location in spacetime. Thus, if realism about forces is correct, we have simultaneous causation: the electromagnetic field simultaneously causes the force.

Not everyone is a realist about forces, though. One might think that the electromagnetic field directly causes the subsequent change in velocity instead of causing a force which in turn causes the change in velocity.

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