David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Erkenntnis 18 (3):343 - 378 (1982)
In this article I give a naturalistic-cum-formal analysis of the relation between beauty, empirical success, and truth. The analysis is based on the one hand on a hypothetical variant of the so-called 'mere-exposure effect' which has been more or less established in experimental psychology regarding exposure-affect relationships in general and aesthetic appreciation in particular (Zajonc 1968; Temme 1983; Bornstein 1989; (Ye 2000). On the other hand it is based on the formal theory of truthlikeness and truth approximation as presented in my From Instrumentalism to Constructive Realism (2000). The analysis supports the findings of James McAllister in his beautiful Beauty and Revolutiorl in Science (1996), by explaining and justifying them. First, scientists are essentially right in regarding aesthetic criteria useful for empirical progress and even for truth approximation, provided they conceive of them as less hard than empirical criteria. Second, the aesthetic criteria of the time, the 'aesthetic canon', may well be based on 'aesthetic induction' regarding nonempirical features of paradigms of successful theories which scientists have come to appreciate as beautiful. Third, aesthetic criteria can play a crucial, schismatic role in scientific revolutions. Since they may well be wrong, they may, in the hands of aesthetic conservatives, retard empirical progress and hence truth approximation, but this does not happen in the hands of aesthetically flexible, 'revolutionary' scientists
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Citations of this work BETA
Sjoerd D. Zwart & Maarten Franssen (2007). An Impossibility Theorem for Verisimilitude. Synthese 158 (1):75 - 92.
Gustavo Cevolani, Vincenzo Crupi & Roberto Festa (2011). Verisimilitude and Belief Change for Conjunctive Theories. Erkenntnis 75 (2):183-202.
Chris Brink (1989). Verisimilitude: Views and Reviews. History and Philosophy of Logic 10 (2):181-201.
Gustavo Cevolani, Roberto Festa & Theo A. F. Kuipers (2013). Verisimilitude and Belief Change for Nomic Conjunctive Theories. Synthese 190 (16):3307-3324.
Gerhard Schurz & Paul Weingartner (2010). Zwart and Franssen's Impossibility Theorem Holds for Possible-World-Accounts but Not for Consequence-Accounts to Verisimilitude. Synthese 172 (3):415 - 436.
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