The Aesthetics of Theory Selection and the Logics of Art

Philosophy of Science (2):325-343 (2018)
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Philosophers of science discuss whether theory selection depends on aesthetic judgments or criteria, and whether these putatively aesthetic features are genuinely extra-epistemic. As examples, judgments involving criteria such as simplicity and symmetry are often cited. However, other theory selection criteria, such as fecundity, coherence, internal consistency, and fertility, more closely match those criteria used in art contexts and by scholars working in aesthetics. Paying closer attention to the way these criteria are used in art contexts allows us to understand some evaluative and developmental practices in scientific theory selection as genuinely aesthetic, enlarging the scope of the goals of science.
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Archival date: 2018-06-24
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