In an earlier blog post here at the OAC
and republished on my personal blog
I contemplated how creative adaptive intelligent behavior crucially involves the ability to move in and out of what might be called game-spaces, defined by particular rule-sets or assumptions. Reflection on formal systems typically involves stepping outside the system itself, to bring external resources to bear. This is notably the case with the study of formal logic. It is also essential to the creative process. Creative endeavors involve the selective observance and rejection or modification of structures of form and taste. The constraints of such game-spaces are of ineliminable importance. Without these constraints there would be no game-space to step out of. Our engagement with them is both participatory and loosely coupled, even playful.
Smith makes a very similar point in his book On the Origins of Objects
. In the following passage Smith discusses how play fits into his metaphysics of objects and theory of intentionality:
The word 'play' is sometimes useful to describe both the world's flex and the intentional behavior that deals with it—i.e., to connote something crucially intermediate between chaos and rigidity.
There must be some degree of habit or pattern or at least inchoate regularity in order for it to count as play. Yet play is neither itself, nor does it anywhere require, a straight-laced core of stringent formal rules. It lives—indeed emerges—in the middle, like a spontaneous dance, or like an improvisational session in jazz. It is as fundamental a fact as any about this metaphysics that it is based on an ineliminable notion of "playfulness"—a kind of irreducible, obstreperous, wily refusal ever to be formally captured and written down. Truly a metaphysics for Coyote. (p. 208)
The metaphysics to which Smith refers is the metaphysics that is the subject of Smith's book, and which is also the subject of my recent blog post A Metaphysics for Wandering Coyote.