Thinking about Science, Reflecting on Art : Bringing Aesthetics and Philosophy of Science Together book cover
1st Edition

Thinking about Science, Reflecting on Art
Bringing Aesthetics and Philosophy of Science Together

ISBN 9781138687325
Published August 9, 2017 by Routledge
202 Pages

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Book Description

Thinking about Science, Reflecting on Art: Bringing Aesthetics and Philosophy of Science Together is the first book to systematically examine the relationship between the philosophy of science and aesthetics. With contributions from leading figures from both fields, this edited collection engages with such questions as:

  • Does representation function in the same way in science and in art?
  • What important characteristics do scientific models share with literary fictions?
  • What is the difference between interpretation in the sciences and in the arts?
  • Can there be a science of aesthetics?
  • In what ways can aesthetics and philosophy of science be integrated?

Aiming to develop the interconnections between the philosophy of science and the philosophy of art more broadly and more deeply than ever before, this volume not only explores scientific representation by comparison with fiction but extends the scope of interaction to include metaphysical and other questions around methodology in mainstream philosophy of science, including the aims of science, the characterisation of scientific understanding, and the nature of observation, as well as drawing detailed comparisons between specific examples in both art and the sciences.

Table of Contents


1 Methodological lessons for the integration of philosophy of science and aesthetics: The case of representation (Julia Sánchez-Dorado)

2 Nature’s handmaid, art (Catherine Z. Elgin)

3 Of barrels and pipes: Representation-as in art and science (Roman Frigg and James Nguyen)

4 Is Captain Kirk a natural blonde? Do X-ray crystallographers dream of electron clouds? Comparing model-based inferences in science with fiction (Ann-Sophie Barwich)

5 Interpreting the sciences, interpreting the arts (Otávio Bueno)

6 Deep indeterminacy in physics and fiction (George Darby, Martin Pickup and Jon Robson)

7 Some philosophical problems of music theory (and some music-theoretic problems of philosophy) (Dean Rickles)

8 Kant on beauty and cognition (Alix Cohen)

9 Epistemology as fiction (Adam Toon)

10 Art, science and abstract artefacts (Steven French)

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Otávio Bueno is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Philosophy Department at the University of Miami, USA.

George Darby is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, UK.

Steven French is Professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Leeds, UK.

Dean Rickles is Professor of History and Philosophy of Modern Physics at the University of Sydney, Australia.


"Thinking about Science, Reflecting on Art is a remarkable collection, which opens a new and much needed conversation between the fields of aesthetics and philosophy of science. It stands out as a unique and ambitious publication for the diversity of approaches and perspectives it brings together, and for the attention it pays to the methodological issues arising from the recent interactions between these two fields. Its deliberate aim to cross the boundary between two branches of philosophy that have, so far, inhabited different academic spaces will contribute to reorient key philosophical debates in a genuinely interdisciplinary direction, and promote a collaborative methodological attitude that will shape the future of philosophy more broadly". 

Chiara Ambrosio, Department of Science and Technology Studies, University College London, UK