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Gamifying Nature: the aesthetic experience of science as a puzzle-game
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The aesthetic judgements scientists make influence which theories, models, and experiments they use and adopt. To better understand the role these judgements play in how science progresses, I examine more closely the role a theorist’s aesthetic experience plays in their epistemology. In this thesis, I provide an overview of what has been said thus far regarding the role aesthetic criteria play in theory selection. I conclude with the claim aesthetic judgement is part of the larger aesthetic experience of solving a puzzle-game. I argue the aesthetic experience of solving a puzzle-game shapes how knowledge is produced in the sciences. I give two specific examples to support my claim: the role of symmetry as an aesthetic feature in doing fundamental physics and the role interactivity plays in protein modeling. I argue symmetry functions as a suitable solution to a puzzle in physics, thus playing an important role in the aesthetic experience of doing physics. I also argue the aesthetic experience of creating protein models is defined by the interactive gameplay necessary to complete the task. Epistemic gains are possible within this kind of aesthetic experience because puzzle-games revolve around their own termination.