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Truth and Beauty: Aesthetics and Motivations in Science

University of Chicago Press (1987)

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  1. Toward an Epistemology of Art.Arnold Cusmariu - 2016 - Symposion: Theoretical and Applied Inquiries in Philosophy and Social Sciences 3 (1):37-64.
    An epistemology of art has seemed problematic mainly because of arguments claiming that an essential element of a theory of knowledge, truth, has no place in aesthetic contexts. For, if it is objectively true that something is beautiful, it seems to follow that the predicate “is beautiful” expresses a property – a view asserted by Plato but denied by Hume and Kant. But then, if the belief that something is beautiful is not objectively true, we cannot be said to know (...)
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  • Fitting Feelings and Elegant Proofs: On the Psychology of Aesthetic Evaluation in Mathematics.Cain Todd - 2017 - Philosophia Mathematica:nkx007.
    ABSTRACT This paper explores the role of aesthetic judgements in mathematics by focussing on the relationship between the epistemic and aesthetic criteria employed in such judgements, and on the nature of the psychological experiences underpinning them. I claim that aesthetic judgements in mathematics are plausibly understood as expressions of what I will call ‘aesthetic-epistemic feelings’ that serve a genuine cognitive and epistemic function. I will then propose a naturalistic account of these feelings in terms of sub-personal processes of representing and (...)
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  • Fitting Feelings and Elegant Proofs: On the Psychology of Aesthetic Evaluation in Mathematics†.Cain Todd - 2018 - Philosophia Mathematica 26 (2):211-233.
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  • Introduction to Special Issue: Aesthetics in Mathematics†.Angela Breitenbach & Davide Rizza - 2018 - Philosophia Mathematica 26 (2):153-160.
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  • The Quest for Plausibility: A Negative Heuristic for Science?R. W. Byrne - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):217-218.
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  • Aesthetic Cognition.Robert S. Root-Bernstein - 2002 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 16 (1):61 – 77.
    The purpose of this article is to integrate two outstanding problems within the philosophy of science. The first concerns what role aesthetics plays in scientific thinking. The second is the problem of how logically testable ideas are generated (the so-called "psychology of research" versus "logic of (dis)proof" problem). I argue that aesthetic sensibility is the basis for what scientists often call intuition, and that intuition in turn embodies (in a literal physiological sense) ways of thinking that have their own meta-logic. (...)
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  • Einstein and the Most Beautiful Theories in Physics.Gideon Engler - 2002 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 16 (1):27 – 37.
    Einstein's theories of special and general relativity are unanimously praised by scientists for their extraordinary beauty to the extent that some consider the latter to be the most beautiful theory in physics. The grounds for these assertions are assessed here and it is concluded that the beauty of Einstein's theories can be attributed to two of their aspects. The first is that they incorporate all possible ingredients that constitute the beauty of theories: simplicity, symmetry, invariance, unification, etc. The second concerns (...)
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  • Quantum Field Theories and Aesthetic Disparity.Gideon Engler - 2001 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 15 (1):51 – 63.
    The theoretical physicist Paul Dirac rejected, explicitly on aesthetic grounds, a successful theory known as quantum electrodynamics (QED), which is the prototype for the family of theories known as quantum field theories (QFTs). Remarkably, the theoretical physicist Steven Weinberg, also largely on aesthetic grounds, supports QED and other QFTs. In order to evaluate these opposing aesthetic views a short introduction to the physical properties of QFTs is presented together with a detailed analysis of the aesthetic claims of Dirac and Weinberg. (...)
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  • The Strategy of Optimality Revisited.Paul J. H. Schoemaker - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):237-245.
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  • Is Economics Still Immersed in the Old Concepts of the Enlightenment Era?Andrzej P. Wierzbicki - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):236-237.
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  • The Human Being as a Bumbling Optimalist: A Psychologist's Viewpoint.Masanao Toda - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):235-235.
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  • Optimal Confusion.Stephanie Stolarz-Fantino & Edmund Fantino - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):234-234.
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  • Avoid the Push-Pull Dilemma in Explanation.Kenneth M. Steele - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):233-234.
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  • Extremum Descriptions, Process Laws and Minimality Heuristics.Elliott Sober - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):232-233.
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  • Rational Agents, Real People and the Quest for Optimality.Eldar Shafir - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):232-232.
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  • Should the Quest for Optimality Worry Us?Nils-Eric Sahlin - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):231-231.
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  • Optimality as a Prescriptive Tool.Alexander H. G. Rinnooy Kan - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):230-231.
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  • Don't Just Sit There, Optimise Something.J. H. P. Paelinck - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):230-230.
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  • The Infinite Regress of Optimization.Philippe Mongin - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):229-230.
    A comment on Paul Schoemaker's target article in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 14 (1991), p. 205-215, "The Quest for Optimality: A Positive Heuristic of Science?" (https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X00066140). This comment argues that the optimizing model of decision leads to an infinite regress, once internal costs of decision (i.e., information and computation costs) are duly taken into account.
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  • Two Dynamic Criteria for Validating Claims of Optimality.Geoffrey F. Miller - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):228-229.
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  • Complexity and Optimality.Dauglas A. Miller & Steven W. Zucker - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):227-228.
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  • Straining the Word “Optimal”.James E. Mazur - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):227-227.
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  • The Example of Psychology: Optimism, Not Optimality.Daniel S. Levine - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):225-226.
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  • Why Optimality is Not Worth Arguing About.Stephen E. G. Lea - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):225-225.
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  • Natural Science, Social Science and Optimality.Oleg Larichev - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):224-225.
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  • Types of Optimality: Who is the Steersman?Michael E. Hyland - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):223-224.
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  • Optimality and Constraint.David A. Helweg & Herbert L. Roitblat - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):222-223.
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  • Vaulting Optimality.Peter Dayan & Jon Oberlander - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):221-222.
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  • Organisms, Scientists and Optimality.Michael Davison - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):220-221.
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  • Natural Selection Doesn't Have Goals, but It's the Reason Organisms Do.Martin Daly - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):219-220.
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  • Some Optimality Principles in Evolution.James F. Crow - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):218-219.
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  • Criteria for Optimality.Michel Cabanac - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):218-218.
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  • Optimality as a Mathematical Rhetoric for Zeroes.Fred L. Bookstein - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):216-217.
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  • Optimality as an Evaluative Standard in the Study of Decision-Making.Jonathan Baron - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):216-216.
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  • Optimality and Human Memory.John R. Anderson - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):215-216.
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  • The Quest for Optimality: A Positive Heuristic of Science?Paul J. H. Schoemaker - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):205-215.
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  • Which Fine-Tuning Arguments Are Fine?Alexei Grinbaum - 2012 - Foundations of Physics 42 (5):615-631.
    Fine-tuning arguments are a frequent find in the literature on quantum field theory. They are based on naturalness—an aesthetic criterion that was given a precise definition in the debates on the Higgs mechanism. We follow the history of such definitions and of their application at the scale of electroweak symmetry breaking. They give rise to a special interpretation of probability, which we call Gedankenfrequency. Finally, we show that the argument from naturalness has been extended to comparing different models of the (...)
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  • Aesthetic Values in Science.Milena Ivanova - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (10):e12433.
    Scientists often use aesthetic values in the evaluation and choice of theories. Aesthetic values are not only regarded as leading to practically more useful theories but are often taken to stand in a special epistemic relation to the truth of a theory such that the aesthetic merit of a theory is evidence of its truth. This paper explores what aesthetic considerations influence scientists' reasoning, how such aesthetic values relate to the utility of a scientific theory, and how one can justify (...)
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  • Aesthetic and Other Theoretical Virtues in Science.Jason Simus - 2009 - American Society for Aesthetics Graduate E-Journal 1 (2):9-16.
    I first provide an introduction to a neglected topic in contemporary aesthetics: intellectual beauty. I then review James McAllister’s critique of autonomism and reductionism regarding the relation between empirical and aesthetic criteria in scientific theory evaluation. Finally, I critique McAllister’s “aesthetic induction” and defend an alternative model that emphasizes the holistic coherence of aesthetic and other theoretical virtues in scientific theorizing.
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  • Optimization and Simplicity: Computational Vision and Biological Explanation.Daniel Gilman - 1996 - Synthese 107 (3):293 - 323.
    David Marr's theory of vision has been a rich source of inspiration, fascination and confusion. I will suggest that some of this confusion can be traced to discrepancies between the way Marr developed his theory in practice and the way he suggested such a theory ought to be developed in his explicit metatheoretical remarks. I will address claims that Marr's theory may be seen as an optimizing theory, along with the attendant suggestion that optimizing assumptions may be inappropriate for cognitive (...)
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  • Beauty in Proofs: Kant on Aesthetics in Mathematics.Angela Breitenbach - 2015 - European Journal of Philosophy 23 (4):955-977.
    It is a common thought that mathematics can be not only true but also beautiful, and many of the greatest mathematicians have attached central importance to the aesthetic merit of their theorems, proofs and theories. But how, exactly, should we conceive of the character of beauty in mathematics? In this paper I suggest that Kant's philosophy provides the resources for a compelling answer to this question. Focusing on §62 of the ‘Critique of Aesthetic Judgment’, I argue against the common view (...)
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  • Aesthetics and the Dream of Objectivity: Notes From Set Theory.Juliette Kennedy & Jouko Väänänen - 2015 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (1):83-98.
    In this paper, we consider various ways in which aesthetic value bears on, if not serves as evidence for, the truth of independent statements in set theory.... the aesthetic issue, which in practice will also for me be the decisive factor—John von Neumann, letter to Carnap, 1931For me, it is the aesthetics which may very well be the final arbiter—P. J. Cohen, 2002.
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  • “If I Were God”: Einstein and Religion.John Hedley Brooke - 2006 - Zygon 41 (4):941-954.
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  • Uncertainty and God: A Jamesian Pragmatist Approach to Uncertainty and Ignorance in Science and Religion.Arthur Petersen - 2014 - Zygon 49 (4):808-828.
    This article picks up from William James's pragmatism and metaphysics of experience, as expressed in his “radical empiricism,” and further develops this Jamesian pragmatist approach to uncertainty and ignorance by connecting it to phenomenological thought. The Jamesian pragmatist approach avoids both a “crude naturalism” and an “absolutist rationalism,” and allows for identification of intimations of the sacred in both scientific and religious practices—which all, in their respective ways, try to make sense of a complex world. Analogous to religious practices, emotion (...)
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  • A Matter of Taste: Evaluating the Quality of Qualitative Research.Margarete Sandelowski - 2015 - Nursing Inquiry 22 (2):86-94.
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  • The Affective Consequences of Artistic and Scientific Problem Solving.Gregory J. Feist - 1994 - Cognition and Emotion 8 (6):489-502.
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