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May 22, 2006

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The equations-themselves-are-the-Platonic-ideals way of looking at things is interesting, but to me it stinks of confusing the map with the territory.

My other problem with equating laws of physics with Platonic forms is the inherent morality of the forms. Plato believed that everything in the ordinary world strives to attain its perfect form. This is sort of a judgement: if something is identical to its Platonic form, then it is the best at being itself that it can possibly be. Does this mean that subjective reality needs to strive to be something more than subjective? To bring back your Mario analogy, does it mean we're somehow imperfect Mario fans because we only experience one (or several) linear playthroughs of Mario Bros?

I guess what I'm saying is this: to believe in Platonic forms, even as laws of physics, is to pass judgement on the material world as imperfect in a grand moral sort of sense. And I don't think that this vibes with the spirit of science.

(Oh, and hi, Clint. We met very briefly through Randy at GDC this year. I like your blog so far.)

oh cool, I happen to be in the middle of reading Incompleteness right now. I too recommend it.

Just curious, have you read Richard Powers' fiction? Your post somehow made me think of that. His novels are good, and his short story "Literary Devices" was particularly excellent.

The server is currently down, but that story can be found here:
http://www.all-story.com/issues.cgi?tImage=back&action=show_story&story_id=174

Sure, Einstein and Godel were platonists, but in an imperfect sense. Once you become the perfect platonist you give up on the notion of ideal forms and embrace the eternal recurrence. Or start making indie games.

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