Veiled Reality

An Analysis Of Present- Day Quantum Mechanical Concepts


By Bernard D’espagnat

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By questioning the validity of some of our basic concepts, such as space, object, and causality, quantum physics contributes quite decisively to the dramatic changes now taking place in our world picture.This book is addressed not only to physicists at an early stage in their careers (the first or second year graduate student) but also to philosophers, as well as to all the senior physicists interested in the interpretation problem. Beginning with a chapter that could be described as “philosophy for physicists,” it presents an in-depth analysis of present-day quantum mechanical concepts, an analysis of physicists and philosophers alike. Specifically, it first offers an extensive critical analysis of such topics as the Einstein, Podolsky, Rosen reality criterion, nonseparatability, the quantum measurement riddle, decoherence theory, consistent histories approaches and ontologically interpretable theories. All this then naturally leads to philosophical questions concerning, in particular, intersubjective agreement and the limit of realism. And a thorough examination of this whole material finally leads to the view that distinguishing between empirical reality and a veiled man-independent reality yields an acceptable answer to the perplexing question of how to interpret quantum physics. Veiled Reality offers nonspecialists, including students in physics, philosophy and the history of science, an accessible perspective on basic problems in the foundations of physics.


On Sale
Jan 24, 2003
Page Count
494 pages

Bernard D’espagnat

About the Author

Bernard d'Espagnat, Emeritus Professor at the University of Paris, Orsay, was born in Fourmagnac, France, on August 22, 1921. He received his Ph.D. in physics from the Sorbonne in 1950. He was a research physicist at the French National Center for Scientific Research, at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Chicago, at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, and at CERN in Geneva. In 1959, d'Espagnat joined the University of Paris, where he was professor at both the Paris and Orsay campuses. Professor d'Espagnat was director of the Laboratoire de Physique Theorique et Particules Elementaires, Orsay, from 1970 to 1987. In 1996 he was elected into the Institut de France (Académie des Sciences morales et politiques) as a philosopher of science.

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