Michel Bitbol

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Michel Bitbol (born March 12, 1954) is a French researcher in philosophy of science.

He is "Directeur de recherche" at CNRS, previously in the Centre de Recherche en Epistémologie Appliquée (CREA) of École polytechnique (Paris, France).[1] He is now a member of Archives Husserl, Ecole Normale Superieure (Paris, France).[2]


His research interests are mainly focused on the influence of quantum physics on philosophy. He first worked on Erwin Schrödinger's metaphysics and philosophy of physics.[3]

Using theorems demonstrated by Jean-Louis Destouches, Paulette Destouches-Février, and R.I.G. Hughes, he pointed out that the structure of quantum mechanics may be derived to a large extent from the assumption that microscopic phenomena cannot be dissociated from their experimental context.[4] His views on quantum mechanics converge with ideas developed by Julian Schwinger[5] and Asher Peres,[6] according to whom quantum mechanics is a "symbolism of atomic measurements", rather than a description of atomic objects. He also defends ideas close to Anton Zeilinger's, by claiming that quantum laws do not express the nature of physical objects, but only the bounds of experimental information.

Along with this view, quantum mechanics is no longer considered as a physical theory in the ordinary sense, but rather as a background framework for physical theories, since it goes back to the most elementary conditions which allow us to formulate any physical theory whatsoever. Some reviewers suggested half-seriously to call this view of physics "Kantum physics". Indeed, Michel Bitbol often refers to the philosophy of I. Kant, according to whom one can understand the contents of knowledge only by analyzing the (sensorial, instrumental, and rational) conditions of possibility of such knowledge.[7]

He was granted an award by the French "Académie des sciences morales et politiques" in 1997, for his work in the philosophy of quantum mechanics.

Later on, he concentrated on the philosophy of mind and consciousness,[8] defending a strongly anti-reductionist[9] and neo-Wittgensteinian view.[10] He collaborated with Francisco Varela on this subject.

His most recent work is a systematic criticism of one of the original versions of speculative realism, formulated by Quentin Meillassoux. The title of his book published in 2019 ("Maintenant la finitude") is a direct reply to Meillassoux's "After Finitude".

He participated in the 2002/2013 conferences of the Mind and Life Institute, whose aim is to promote a dialogue between science and Buddhism.[11] He subsequently wrote a book developing a thoroughly relational reading of quantum mechanics, with due reference to the Buddhist concept of dependent arising.[12][13]


  • Mécanique quantique, une introduction philosophique, Champs-Flammarion, 1997
  • L'aveuglante proximité du réel, Champs-Flammarion, 1998.
  • Physique et Philosophie de l'Esprit, Champs-Flammarion, 2005.
  • Schrödinger's Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics, Kluwer, 1996.
  • De l'Intérieur du monde, Flammarion, 2010.
  • La conscience a-t-elle une origine?, Flammarion, 2014
  • La pratique des possibles, une lecture pragmatiste et modale de la mécanique quantique, Hermann, 2015
  • Maintenant la finitude, Flammarion, 2019


  • French translation of Schrödinger's Mind and Matter (with an extensive introduction), Seuil, 1990.
  • French translation (with Annie Bitbol-Hespériès) of Schrödinger's: Nature and the Greeks (with an extensive introduction), Seuil, 1992.


  1. ^ "Automates Intelligents". Retrieved 12 June 2012.
  2. ^ "Archives Husserl". Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  3. ^ E. Schrödinger, The interpretation of quantum mechanics (Dublin seminars 1949-1955), edited and with an introduction by M. Bitbol, Ox Bow Press, 1995
  4. ^ M. Bitbol, "La mécanique quantique comme théorie des probabilités généralisée", in: E. Klein & Y. Sacquin (eds.), Prévision et probabilités dans les sciences, Editions Frontières, 1998
  5. ^ J. Schwinger, Quantum Mechanics. Symbolism of Atomic Measurements, Springer, 2003
  6. ^ A. Peres, Quantum Theory: Concepts and Methods, Kluwer, 1995
  7. ^ M. Bitbol, “Some steps towards a transcendental deduction of quantum mechanics”, Philosophia naturalis, 35, 253-280, 1998
  8. ^ M. Bitbol, “Is Consciousness Primary ?”, NeuroQuantology, 6, 53-71, 2008
  9. ^ M. Bitbol, “Ontology, matter and emergence”, Phenomenology and the Cognitive Science, 6, 293-307, 2007
  10. ^ M. Bitbol, “Science as if situation mattered”, Phenomenology and the Cognitive Science, 1, 181-224, 2002
  11. ^ P.L. Luisi (ed.), Mind & Life, Discussions with the Dalai-Lama on the Nature of Reality, Columbia University Press, 2008
  12. ^ "Actu Philosophia". Retrieved 12 June 2012.
  13. ^ "Non Fiction". Retrieved 12 June 2012.

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