David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 19 (1):21 – 30 (2005)
This article deals with the question whether aesthetic considerations affected Einstein in formulating both his theories of relativity. The opinions of philosophers and historians alike are divided on this matter. Thus, Gerald Holton supports the view that Einstein employed aesthetic considerations in formulating his theory of special relativity whereas Jim Shelton opposes it, one of his reasons being that Einstein did not mention such considerations. The other theory, namely, that of general relativity, is discussed by John D. Norton. He asserts that the successful completion of this theory was due to Einstein's adherence to mathematical simplicity resulting from experience, as Einstein himself stated, and not from an aesthetic drive, to which he did not refer. The present work attempts to overcome this deficiency indirectly by investigating Einstein's aesthetic awareness and its consequences for his work. It is found that this awareness was imbedded in his perception of nature and is linked to the criteria (such as simplicity) that guided him in formulating his theories. The conclusion thus reached is that aesthetic considerations did play a role in Einstein's endeavour, contrary to the assertions of Shelton and Norton.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Paul Arthur Schilpp & Albert Einstein (1950). Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist. Science and Society 14 (4):353-360.
John D. Norton (2000). `Nature is the Realisation of the Simplest Conceivable Mathematical Ideas': Einstein and the Canon of Mathematical Simplicity. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 31 (2):135-170.
John D. Norton (1995). Did Einstein Stumble? The Debate Over General Covariance. Erkenntnis 42 (2):223 - 245.
Citations of this work BETA
Sorin Bangu (2006). Pythagorean Heuristic in Physics. Perspectives on Science 14 (4):387-416.
Similar books and articles
Amit Hagar (2008). Length Matters: The Einstein–Swann Correspondence and the Constructive Approach to the Special Theory of Relativity. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (3):532-556.
Jeroen van Dongen (2010). Einstein's Unification. Cambridge University Press.
John Norton, Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity and the Problems in the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies That Led Him to It.
Gary Gutting (1972). Einstein's Discovery of Special Relativity. Philosophy of Science 39 (1):51-68.
Steven Gimbel (2012). Einstein's Jewish Science: Physics at the Intersection of Politics and Religion. Johns Hopkins University Press.
Lincoln Kinnear Barnett (1957). The Universe and Dr. Einstein. Dover Publications.
Max Born (1965). Einstein's Theory of Relativity. New York, Dover Publications.
Gideon Engler (2002). Einstein and the Most Beautiful Theories in Physics. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 16 (1):27 – 37.
D. J. (2000). `Nature is the Realisation of the Simplest Conceivable Mathematical Ideas': Einstein and the Canon of Mathematical Simplicity. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 31 (2):135-170.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads22 ( #170,867 of 1,902,050 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #466,345 of 1,902,050 )
How can I increase my downloads?