Unmasking the truth beneath the beauty: Why the supposed aesthetic judgements made in science may not be aesthetic at all
International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (1):61 – 79 (2008)
AbstractIn 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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Citations of this work
Beauty Is Not Simplicity: An Analysis of Mathematicians' Proof Appraisals.Matthew Inglis & Andrew Aberdein - 2015 - Philosophia Mathematica 23 (1):87-109.
The Aesthetic and Literary Qualities of Scientific Thought Experiments.Alice Murphy - 2020 - In Milena Ivanova & Steven French (eds.), The Aesthetics of Science: Beauty, Imagination and Understanding.
The Aesthetics of Theory Selection and the Logics of Art.Ian O’Loughlin & Kate McCallum - 2018 - Philosophy of Science (2):325-343.
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Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 2004 - In Martin Curd & Stathis Psillos (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Science. Routledge. pp. 193.