An approach to reconcile realism and idealism—and the ‘mind/body problem’—is proposed, based on examining the direction and key implications of progress in physics. The direction is from tangible ontological ‘objects’ such as particles to less tangible epistemological ‘processes’ and abstract ‘fields.’ Physical realism is associated with local wave-particle fields, and mental idealism with nonlocal wave fields. The concept of levels of space time is proposed to bridge local matter and nonlocal mind toward a rational, logically consistent model of how they causally interact.
The job of physics used to be straightforward:
identifying consistent patterns of change in the natural world as laws of nature. Whether the objects measured really do exist—as well as what and where laws of nature are if they also exist was of little concern for ‘calculating’ physicists. In part, this was due to categorizing what is ontologically ‘real’ as a philosophical issue not answerable using the accepted methods of investigation. A strong case can be made that it also was due to tacit belief that the objects really are ‘real.’ These quotes of Einstein support the case:
The belief in an external world independent of the perceiving subject is the basis of all natural science (1965, p. 201).
An essential aspect…of things in physics is that they lay claim, at a certain time, to an existence independent of one another, provided these “objects” are situated in different parts of space…. Unless one makes this kind of assumption about the independence of the existence of (the “being-thus”) of objects which are far apart from one another in space—which stems in the first place from everyday thinking—physical thinking in the familiar sense would not be possible.
It is also hard to see any way of formulating and testing the laws of physics unless one makes a clear distinction of this kind (Dickson, 1998, p.