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The Journal of Value Inquiry

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 191–205 | Cite as

Philosophical Theories, Aesthetic Value, and Theory Choice

  • Jiri Benovsky
Article

The practice of attributing aesthetic properties to scientific and philosophical theories is commonplace. Perhaps one of the most famous examples of such an aesthetic judgement about a theory is Quine’s in ‘On what there is’: “Wyman’s overpopulated universe is in many ways unlovely. It offends the aesthetic sense of us who have a taste for desert landscapes […]”.1Many other philosophers and scientists, before and after Quine, have attributed aesthetic properties to particular theories they are defending or rejecting. One often hears that a view is “elegant”, “attractive”, “beautiful”, or even “sexy”. The physicist Brian Greene decided to call the book, where he explains and defends the theory of superstrings for a general readership, “The elegant universe”. And Dirac commented on general relativity theory thus: “The foundations of the theory are, I believe, stronger than what one could get simply from the support of experimental evidence. The real foundations come from the great...

Keywords

Theory Choice Philosophical Theory Aesthetic Property Aesthetic Judgement Empirical Adequacy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of FribourgFribourgSwitzerland

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