The European philosophical tradition, Alfred North Whitehead claimed, consists of a series of footnotes to Plato. If you really want to see Plato’s heirs in action, though, philosophy is the wrong place to look. Look, instead, at physics. Nowhere else is the spirit of the Academy cultivated so assiduously: the maths fetishism, the disdain for mere appearances, the passionate yearning for a timeless, radiant truth. Throw a rock in a physics faculty and you’ll hit someone explaining that the laws of reality are eternal, written in the burning sigils of mathematics. Extreme cases, such as Max Tegmark, go so far as to claim that reality itself just is mathematics, which actually overshoots Plato to land among antiquity’s greatest weirdos, the Pythagoreans.