Bergson and Louis De Broglie

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


It is true that all previous considerations presuppose that microphysical indeterminacy has an objective status and therefore is not a mere result of temporary technological limitations of our present measurements. I discussed this particular problem at length in a chapter entitled ‘The End of the Laplacean Illusion’1in my previous book in which I listed all the facts supporting the objective status of indeterminacy: not only the general bankruptcy of allthe ideas constituting the classical deterministic model of the physical reality, but also the peculiar character of radioactive explosions, whose statistical character and indeterminacy cannot by their very nature depend on the intervention of the observer. I also pointed out that this character is not confined to radioactive processes only. The emissions of photons have essentially the same ‘radioactive’ character, and this is true of spontaneous disintegrations of all recently discovered “particles” as well. I also pointed out that resistance to the concept of the objective contingency of microphysical events is due mainly to the tenacity of certain classical beliefs, including the belief in the Laplacean- Spinozist concept of causality, which is still wrongly regarded as the onlytype of rational order.


Modern Physic Scientific Outlook Spontaneous Disintegration Previous Book Microphysical Event 
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  1. 2.
    L. de Broglie, Continu et discontinu en physique moderne(Paris, 1940), p. 61.Google Scholar
  2. L. de Broglie, Continu et discontinu en physique moderne(Paris, 1940), p. 64.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    L. de Broglie, Physics and Microphysics, pp. 199–200.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    L. de Broglie, ‘Léon Brunschwicg et l’evolution des sciences’, Revue de métaphysique et de morale 50(1945) 72–76. Here the author gently, but firmly rejected the deterministic interpretation of the Heisenberg’s uncertainty relations in Brunschwicg’s book La physique nouvelle et la philosophie, Hermann, Paris, 1936.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Cf. ‘To the Memory of fimile Meyerson’ in de Broglie’s book Matter and Light. New Physics(transl. by W. H. Johnston), Dover, New York, 1939, p. 286.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    The quotation from Bergson is from T.F. W., p. 212. The footnote of de Broglie is not translated in Davidson’s translation: its full text is in the French original version Physique et microphysique, Paris, 1947, p. 211.Google Scholar
  7. 12.
    Bulletin de la Société frangaise de philosophie(séance du 25 avril 1953). Cf. also Nouvelles perspective en microphysique, Paris, 1956, pp. 199–201.Google Scholar
  8. 13.
    Physique et microphysique, pp. 181–190. (In the English translation the term ‘con-version finale’ is translated rather obscurely as ‘final transformation’, p. 156).Google Scholar
  9. 16.
    Cf. La physique quantique restera-t-elle indeterministe?,Gauthiers-Villars, Paris, 1953, esp. pp. 65–111 with several contributions of J.-P. Vigier. On Einstein’s satisfaction with which he reacted to the attempts ro revive the deterministic interpretation of quantum physics cf. Nouvelles perspectives en microphysique, pp. 200–201.Google Scholar
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    D. Bohm, Causality and Chance in Modern Physics, Harper Torchbook, 1961, pp. 158–160.Google Scholar
  11. 21.
    Bulletin de la Société française de philosophie 34No. 5 (octobre-december 1934), 172–183.Google Scholar
  12. 22.
    Edouard le Roy in his article ‘Ce que la microphysique apporte et suggère a la philosophie’, Revue de métaphysique et de morale 42(1935), 345–347 rejects - like Brunschwicg - any “reification” of quantum indetermination.Google Scholar
  13. 23.
    Brand Blanshard, The Nature of Thought, George Allen & Unwin, London, 1948, II, p. 493.Google Scholar
  14. 24.
    L. de Broglie, op. cit. in Note 18, p. 141, J. Ullmo, La crise de la physique quantique, Paris, 1955, accuses Heisenberg of “pure subjectivism” (p. 36) and the language of certain passages of Heisenberg’s Physics and Philosophy, New York, Harper & Brothers 1958, easily yields to this interpretation (see in particular pp. 133, 144.)Google Scholar
  15. 25.
    L. de Broglie, Physics and Microphysics, p. 7.Google Scholar

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© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1971

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  • Milič Čapek

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