McAllister's aesthetics in science: A critical notice

In Beauty and Revolution in Science, James McAllister argues that a sophisticated rationalist image of science can accommodate two prominent features of actual scientific practice, namely, appeals to “aesthetic” criteria in theory choice, and the occurrence of scientific “revolutions”. The aesthetic criteria to which scientists appeal are, he maintains, inductively grounded in the empirical record of competing theories, and scientific revolutions involve changes in aestheic criteria bu continuity in empirical criteria of theory choice. I raise difficulties for McAllister's account concerning: (a) the nature and scope of “aesthetic” criteria in science; (b) the rationality of appeals to aestheic criteria in science; (c) the rationality of scientific revolutions.
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