Limitations and Usefulness of the Corpuscular Models

  • Milič Čapek
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 7)


Since the space of Newton and Euclid was an integral part of the classical model of reality, its denial by Bergson - and by modern physics - seriously affects this model itself. More accurately, the claim that the Newtonian- Euclidian void is a mere ideal and a physically unrealized limit, does affect other constituent parts of the same model. We shall see how all other components of the corpuscular-kinetic scheme of nature - matter, motion, energy and causality itself - were profoundly modified and how these modifications largely depended on the revisions to which the concepts of space and time have been subjected. We shall see how, in the light of Bergson’s analysis, the above mentioned classical concepts while being, strictly speaking, distortions or simplificationsof the physical reality, retain their practical usefulness on the macroscopic - and macrochronic - level; that their very artificiality guarantees their usefulness on the human level. This has been illustrated already by several examples. For practical purposes, that is, from the standpoint of the human ‘specious present’, time is infinitely divisible, since even if the microphysical events have the duration of 10−24sec, they can be practicallyregarded as instantaneous. For practical purposes, the physical interactions on the scale of the human body are instantaneous, and in this respect undistinguishable from the relations in the geometrical, instantaneous space.


Physical World Physical Reality Modern Physic Sensory Perception Classical Physic 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1971

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  • Milič Čapek

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