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Keywords:

  • panpsychism;
  • paradigm for physics;
  • potential versus actual states;
  • quantum events;
  • virtual states

Abstract. Two fundamental issues raised by Lothar Schäfer are considered: (1) the question of a suitable paradigm within which the findings of quantum physics can be optimally interpreted and (2) the question of the assessment of the presence and importance of mind and consciousness in the universe. In regard to the former, I contend that the ideal of science is to interpret its findings in an optimally consistent and minimally speculative framework. In this context Schäfer's assertion that certain findings in quantum physics (those that relate to virtual states) indicate the presence of mind at the quantum level implies a dualistic and hence unnecessarily speculative assumption. In regard to the assessment of mind and consciousness, a consistent and parsimonious paradigm suggests that mind and consciousness are not part of a chain of events consisting of an admixture of physical and mental events but that physical events form a single, coherent set of events, and mental events another set, with the two sets related, as Teilhard (and a number of other philosophers, including White head) affirmed, as the “within” and the “without” (or the “mental pole” and the “physical pole”) of one and the same fundamental reality. This panpsychist as contrasted with Schäfer's dualist paradigm provides a single self-consistent framework for the interpretation of quantum (and all natural) events while recognizing the presence of mind in the universe as the least speculative realist implication of our immediate experience of consciousness.