I remember that Willard van Orman Quine wrote something to the effect that physics may be paradoxical, in similar ways as naive set theory is paradoxical.

May someone help find the quote?

Edit 1 - A Quine specialist just wrote the following to me:

Sounds like something we would say, but I can't locate it. In Pursuit of Truth -- 20-1, 35-6 -- he does speak of modern physics presenting logical problems ...

Edit 2 - Unfortunately, it was not in the suggestions of Edit 1.

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    $\begingroup$ "The argument that sustains a paradox may expose the absurdity of a buried premise or of some preconception previously reckoned as central to physical theory, to mathematics, or to the thinking process. Catastrophe may lurk, therefore, in the most innocent-seeming paradox." Quine, The ways of paradox. $\endgroup$
    – Conifold
    Commented Mar 25 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Conifold what page are you on? (For the record, your sentence does not have the same content as the one I think about, but there may be more in the context which fills in.) $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 25 at 23:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Conifold I now read the excerpt from The ways of paradox which you linked to, and what I look for is not in there. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 25 at 23:35
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe On what there is (1948) reprinted into From a Logical Point of View; page 19: "An antinomy arose between the undular and the corpuscular account of light..." $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 27 at 8:36
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    $\begingroup$ @MauroALLEGRANZA That's the one, om page 19-20! Please write an answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 27 at 15:38

1 Answer 1


See "On what there is" (1948) reprinted into From a Logical Point of View, page 19 of the 2nd revised edition of 1961:

"An antinomy arose between the undular and the corpuscular account of light..."

  • $\begingroup$ Is your pagination from the 1st edition? $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 27 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ @FrodeAlfsonBjørdal - 2nd revised edition (Harper, 1961). $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 28 at 6:36

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