`Nature is the realisation of the simplest conceivable mathematical ideas': Einstein and the canon of mathematical simplicity
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 31 (2):135-170 (2000)
Einstein proclaimed that we could discover true laws of nature by seeking those with the simplest mathematical formulation. He came to this viewpoint later in his life. In his early years and work he was quite hostile to this idea. Einstein did not develop his later Platonism from a priori reasoning or aesthetic considerations. He learned the canon of mathematical simplicity from his own experiences in the discovery of new theories, most importantly, his discovery of general relativity. Through his neglect of the canon, he realised that he delayed the completion of general relativity by three years and nearly lost priority in discovery of its gravitational field equations.
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