Myths and Models

  • Bernard d’Espagnat


Thales believed that “everything is made of water.” At the dawn of mathematical physics, Descartes thought he would be able to produce (all on his own) an exact picture of reality as it is. At the start of an unprejudiced questioning about the world, a fresh mind, aiming at lucidity, imagines quite naturally that it is possible to say what is. It does not pause to ponder that in order to “say” something, words are needed, which, in turn, express concepts, and that our concepts—reflecting as they do the conditions under which action was possible, either for the children we were or for our prehuman ancestors—are not necessarily adapted to the description of a reality considered, by assumption, to be independent of man.


Hide Variable Everyday Language Realistic Conception Strong Objectivity Symbolic Description 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. 4.
    B. d’Espagnat, Conceptual Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, 2nd edition, Addison Wesley, Benjamin, Reading, MA, 1976.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernard d’Espagnat
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Physique Theorique et Particules Elementaires, Centre d’OrsayUniversite Paris XIOrsay CedexFrance

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