Space and Time Back to Top A traditional Realist position is that time and space have existence independent from the human mind.
They are far too small to be visible to the naked eye. Perdurantism holds that objects are effectively 4-dimensional entities made up of a series of temporal parts like the frames of a movie it treats the tree, then, as a series of tree-stages.
This idea somewhat anticipates the modern concept of an ultimate grand unification theory that finally describes all of existence in terms of one inter-related sub-atomic reality which applies to everything. Plato's examples of what we might today call universals included mathematical and geometrical ideas such as a circle and natural numbers as universals.
It would seem, for example, that we think of the classes we sort things into—biological species, say—as comprising different members at different times.
Quine argued for this latter claim by proposing what he took to be decisive counterexamples to theories that take essentiality to be meaningful. Someone schooled in the Aristotelian tradition would be puzzled by this new use of the term 'metaphysics' and would likely charge that, in the hands of the rationalists, what is supposed to be a single discipline with a single subject matter turns out to be the examination of a hodgepodge of unrelated topics.
Updated June 25, In Western philosophymetaphysics has become the study of the fundamental nature of all reality — what is it, why is it, and how are we can understand it. That is, a particular ontological formation is based on how ontological categories of time, space, embodiment, knowing and performing are lived—objectively and subjectively.
If this example has any philosophical interest it is this: it illustrates the fact that it is impossible to imagine a way for a non-physical thing to affect the behavior of a classical physical system without violating a conservation principle.