In a debate with four other philosophers of physics, Sebens argued that there are no particles, everything is fields:
I was driven to this all-fields picture not by studying the self-interaction problem, but by two other considerations. First, I have found this picture helpful in understanding a property of the electron called ‘spin’. The standard lore in quantum physics is that the electron behaves in many ways like a spinning body but is not really spinning. It has spin but does not spin.
If the electron is point-size, of course it does not make sense to think of it as actually spinning. If the electron is instead thought of as a very small ball, there are concerns that it would have to rotate faster than the speed of light to account for the features that led us to use the word ‘spin’. This worry about faster-than-light rotation made the physicists who discovered spin in the 1920s uncomfortable about publishing their results.
If the electron is a sufficiently widely spread-out lump of energy and charge in the Dirac field, there is no need for faster-than-light motion. We can study the way that the energy and charge move to see if they flow in a circular way about some central axis – to see if the electron spins. It does.
The second consideration that led me to an all-fields picture was the realisation that we don’t have a way of treating the photon as a particle in quantum electrodynamics. Dirac invented an equation that describes the quantum behaviour of a single electron. But we have no similar equation for the photon.
If you think of electrons as particles, you’ll have to think of photons differently – either eliminating them (Lazarovici’s story) or treating them as a field (Hubert’s story). On the other hand, if you think of electrons as a field, then you can think of photons the same way. I see this consistency as a virtue of the all-fields picture.Charles Sebens, “What’s everything made of?” at Aeon
Read the rest. This theory is reminiscent of the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, for whom “everything flows.” Would it be just the biscuit if a philosopher guessed it right 2500 years ago?