Maxwell's Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism: The Central Argument
by Howard J. Fisher
7" x 10", 526 pages, bibliography, index.
Publication date, April 2015.
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Howard Fisher follows up on his elucidation of Faraday's Experimental Researches in Electricity with this in-depth guided study of Maxwell's great work. Taking us through the parts of the Treatise that Maxwell himself identified as central, Fisher provides illuminating notes to the physical concepts and explains the mathematics in a way that allows even nonspecialists to understand this extraordinary text, upon which much of our understanding of the universe is founded.
- Selections from Maxwell's original text, with extensive introductions and notes
- Based on Maxwell's own recommendations
- Includes the development of the electromagnetic theory of light waves
Below are links to PDF versions of the Preface and Table of Contents.
You may need to open these PDF documents in Adobe Reader or an equivalent program.
- The Green Lion's Preface
- Table of Contents
- Selection from Part I Chapter 1
- Selection from Part IV Chapter 9
About the Author
Howard J. Fisher is Faculty Emeritus at St. John's College in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has taught in the college's celebrated Great Books program since 1965, where he has made a very substantial contribution to the college's unique inclusion of laboratory sciences in the integrated humanities/liberal arts curriculum.
With a background in physics and philosophy, Fisher had long before made acquaintance with "the physicists' Maxwell." Rereading Maxwell's Treatise many years later in Faraday's light, and in the context of such thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, Galileo, Newton, Kant, Fisher discovered a very different Maxwell indeed—a mathematician who pressed beyond formalities; a physicist striving for an open activity of seeking and knowing. "That is the Maxwell," says Fisher, "I have tried to do justice to in this guide to the Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism."