NIAS Seminar Series 'Beauty in truths and proofs'

15 October 2009 from 16:00 to 16:00 hrs
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Seminar by Prof. Theo Kuipers, (as of March 2010 emeritus) Professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Groningen. He is currently Guest of the Rector at NIAS.


Is there a relationship between the beauty of theories and their truths? Building upon the phenomenon of aesthetic induction (Beauty and Revolution in Science by James McAllister) which is based on increasing empirical success of theories, one may argue that beauty can be a signpost of truths. Our perception of the relationship between the beauty and the truth of a theory originates from a combination of the mere-exposure effect (preferring things merely because of familiarity with them) and the logical relationship there exists between increasing empirical success in science and truth approximation.
>Another question one may ask is whether we can compare the beauty of scientific theories with the beauty of works of art. After all, theories are man-made. There seem to be good reasons to compare physical theories with works of visual art - or even more so, to compare mathematical proofs with pieces of music. The philosopher Ulianov Montaño is doing the latter. Starting from a formalist process view on musical aesthetic experience, he is developing a similar theory for mathematical proof, in which he includes a role for McAllister s aesthetic induction.'Theo Kuipers will involve participants by giving some everyday homework.
>The NIAS Seminar series is a sequence of lectures organised each academic year by the Rector of the Institute. These seminars are meant to appeal to interested parties from a wide range of backgrounds. It is hoped that the series will encourage closer contact within the Dutch academic world. The lectures are followed by an open discussion.
>Canges in the programme may occur, so please let us know if you wish to attend. <p>