This volume builds on two recent developments in philosophy on the relationship between art and science: the notion of representation and the role of values in theory choice and the development of scientific theories. Its aim is to address questions regarding scientific creativity and imagination, the status of scientific performances—such as thought experiments and visual aids—and the role of aesthetic considerations in the context of discovery and justification of scientific theories.

Several contributions focus on the concept of beauty as employed by practising scientists, the aesthetic factors at play in science and their role in decision making. Other essays address the question of scientific creativity and how aesthetic judgment resolves the problem of theory choice by employing aesthetic criteria and incorporating insights from both objectivism and subjectivism. The volume also features original perspectives on the role of the sublime in science and sheds light on the empirical work studying the experience of the sublime in science and its relation to the experience of understanding.

The Aesthetics of Science tackles these topics from a variety of novel and thought-provoking angles. It will be of interest to researchers and advanced students in philosophy of science and aesthetics, as well as other subdisciplines such as epistemology and philosophy of mathematics.

chapter 1|20 pages

Introduction to the Volume

ByMilena Ivanova, Steven French

chapter 2|15 pages

Epistemic Gatekeepers

The Role of Aesthetic Factors in Science
ByCatherine Z. Elgin

chapter 3|27 pages

Getting the Picture

Towards a New Account of Scientific Understanding
ByLetitia Meynell

chapter 4|23 pages

Imagination, Aesthetic Feelings, and Scientific Reasoning

ByCain Todd

chapter 5|18 pages

Beauty, Truth and Understanding

ByMilena Ivanova

chapter 6|21 pages

A Plea for the Sublime in Science

ByMargherita Arcangeli, Jérôme Dokic

chapter 10|25 pages

Performance and Practice

Situating the Aesthetic Qualities of Theories
BySteven French