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Fitting Feeling and Elegant Proofs: on the psychology of aesthetic evaluation in mathematics

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/06/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>Philosophia Mathematica
Issue number2
Volume26
Number of pages23
Pages (from-to)211-233
Publication statusPublished
Early online date10/04/17
Original languageEnglish

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 assessing the relation between cognitive processes and certain properties of the stimuli at which they are directed.