Descartes, Jason Wang, and Nietzsche point at each other in the Spiderman meme.

A Metaphysical Meditation on Size

Chapter 0 – Introduction

This philosophical discourse thoroughly investigates the concept of size as perceived in the natural world and continues to argue that size cannot exist as a concrete and objective measure. We can define size as the volume of space an object occupies when projected into the hyperplane created from the three spatial dimensions that we can perceive and at a fixed moment in time, presupposing the existence of said object. We commonly discuss size using two non-intersecting metrics. Relative size refers to the size of an object in relation to a collection of other objects, also presupposing their existence, requiring terms such as “Falstaffian” or “Lilliputian.” Absolute size refers to the size of an object in relation to some set of presupposed units, presupposing the viewer holds a common presupposed understanding of terms such as “sheppey” or “wiffle.” Chapters 1 and 2 will explore in profound depth different commonly used constructions of size.

An immediate error of the human perception of size derives from the limitations of our senses to a small subset of possible dimensions in the physical world and metaphysical reality. Presupposing the accuracy of String Theory implies we miss 7 dimensions of an object when attempting to determine size, and Superstring Theory appends another possible 16. Clearly, the size in any dimension can be independent between other dimensions – consider as an example an infinitely long but infinitely thin rod lying in the plane. The existence of such an object does not violate any presupposed metaphysical laws and is logically consistent. In addition, size is non-static along the time dimension, as we see objects “grow” and “shrink” often. These changes extend far beyond the span of time of which we could realistically conceive. Finally, there exist non-spatial and non-temporal dimensions under further consideration. Chapters 3-5 will further belabor these points in extreme, unnecessary detail.

A major fault of terms of relative size stems from the differential perspectives between persons. For example, consider a situation where two people view a pumpkin. One has only ever seen pumpkins smaller than the one being viewed. The other has never seen a pumpkin smaller than their current viewing. Obviously, the former would use language such as “large” while the latter might espouse “small” to describe the same object. This creates a linguistic divide between individuals determined entirely from their presuppositions, which was argued problematic by Nietzsche. Chapter 6 discusses further such contradictory metaphors.

Photoshop by Jason Wang

Similarly, presupposing metrics to base other measurements upon requires an exact common understanding of the presupposed base unit. That unit in question must come arbitrarily and abstractly. In fact, each person is presented with an alternative perspective of reality, such that one “foot” appears much greater to one person than another. No method could exist to reconcile these distortions. Plus, exacting measurements could be subject to illusions beyond mere distortion, even in the three perceptible spatial dimensions; our senses, as Descartes argues, cannot be taken faithfully. In lieu of the current constricting and erroneous definitions of size, we propose to use the flexible and generalizable concept of topological distance in chapters 7 and 8, since the physical world can be definitively shown to exist as a topological space.

We conclude that the abstractness of the notion of size contradicts the logical uniformity necessary to properly construct reality as an objective state rather than a subjective experience. That is, in the perspective of a rigorous and absolute metaphysics, size doesn’t matter.

©Penn PB (Penn Philosophical Betas), 2022

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