Event Date: 3 December 2012
University of London
London WC1E 7HU
The Aristotelian Society presents:
Dr Angela Breitenbach (Cambridge) – Aesthetics in Science: A Kantian Proposal
Can aesthetic considerations legitimately be linked to the empirical success of scientific theories? I suggest that a satisfactory answer to this question should account for the apparent attraction that aesthetic considerations seem to have for scientists, while also explaining the apparent instability of the link between the beauty of a theory and its success. I argue that two widespread tendencies in the literature, Pythagorean and subjectivist approaches, have difficulties meeting this challenge. I propose a Kantian conception of aesthetic judgments as second-order considerations, related to our own intellectual capacities for making sense of the world, and argue that it fares better.
Angela Breitenbach is a Lecturer in the Philosophy Faculty at the University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on the history of modern philosophy, in particular the philosophy of Kant, as well as questions in
philosophy of science, philosophy of biology, and aesthetics. She has published on various aspects of Kant’s philosophy, and is the author of Die Analogie von Vernunft und Natur (The Analogy of Reason and Nature, de Gruyter 2009). Angela was educated in Cambridge and Berlin, and held a Junior Research Fellowship at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. She spent the last three years as a Lecturer at the University of East Anglia before moving to Cambridge in October 2012.