Unmasking the truth beneath the beauty: Why the supposed aesthetic judgements made in science may not be aesthetic at all
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (1):61 – 79 (2008)
In this article I examine the status of putative aesthetic judgements in science and mathematics. I argue that if the judgements at issue are taken to be genuinely aesthetic they can be divided into two types, positing either a disjunction or connection between aesthetic and epistemic criteria in theory/proof assessment. I show that both types of claim face serious difficulties in explaining the purported role of aesthetic judgements in these areas. I claim that the best current explanation of this role, McAllister's 'aesthetic induction' model, fails to demonstrate that the judgements at issue are genuinely aesthetic. I argue that, in light of these considerations, there are strong reasons for suspecting that many, and perhaps all, of the supposedly aesthetic claims are not genuinely aesthetic but are in fact 'masked' epistemic assessments.
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References found in this work BETA
Peter Lipton (2004). Inference to the Best Explanation. Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
James W. McAllister (1996). Beauty & Revolution in Science. Cornell University Press.
Noël Carroll (2000). Art and Ethical Criticism: An Overview of Recent Directions of Research. Ethics 110 (2):350-387.
G. H. Hardy (1992). A Mathematician's Apology. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
Nick Zangwill (2001). The Metaphysics of Beauty. Cornell University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Angela Breitenbach (2013). Aesthetics in Science: A Kantian Proposal. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 113 (1pt1):83-100.
Carlo Cellucci (2015). Mathematical Beauty, Understanding, and Discovery. Foundations of Science 20 (4):339-355.
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