AESTHETICS IN MATHEMATICS
BRITISH SOCIETY OF AESTHETICS CONNECTIONS CONFERENCE
UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA, NORWICH
5-7 December 2014
Organisers: Angela Breitenbach (Cambridge), Davide Rizza (UEA), Fiona Milway
Aesthetics and philosophy of mathematics are often perceived to be at opposite ends of the philosophical spectrum. Questions about the nature of art, beauty and aesthetic experience seem
to have little connection with such problems as the logical structure of formal arguments or the ontological status of abstract objects. And yet the phenomenon of mathematical beauty and
the pervasive appeal to aesthetic criteria in mathematics raise questions in both areas of the discipline. The conference is motivated by the belief that philosophical analysis of beauty in mathematics
requires real dialogue between aestheticians and philosophers of mathematics. By bringing together specialists in the two fields, the aims of the conference are:
- to make sense of aesthetic judgments in mathematics and thereby shed light on a theme that has largely been neglected in contemporary philosophical debates,
- to explore the relation between mathematics and art, and
- to investigate the implications of the connection between aesthetics and mathematical practice for other areas of philosophy (in particular the philosophy of science insofar as it involves the application of mathematics).
John Bell (Western Ontario)
Catarina Dutilh-Novaes (Groningen)
Thomas Forster (Cambridge)
Louise Hanson (Cambridge)
Kenneth Manders (Pittsburgh)
James McAllister (Leiden)
Chris Pincock (Ohio State)
Elizabeth Schellekens (Durham)
Cain Todd (Lancaster)
1. Abstract Submission deadline: 1 July 2014
2. Notification of decisions: 1 August 2014
3. Conference dates: 5 - 7 December 2014
TOPICS AND SUBMISSION DETAILS
A small number of slots are reserved for contributed papers, each of which will be allocated 30 minutes for presentation, followed by a 15-minute discussion. Authors are invited to submit an abstract of 100 words together with an extended abstract of 1000 words. Please prepare your abstracts for blind review and save your extended abstract as a PDF file. For submissions, go to:
When logged in, click on the 'New Submission' tab. Include your 100 words abstract and upload the PDF file of your extended abstract.
Possible topics of contributed papers include, but are not limited to, the following:
- What is mathematical beauty? What, if anything, distinguishes it from other kinds of beauty?
- What is the status of aesthetic judgments in mathematics? Are such judgments grounded in cognition of the properties of mathematical objects such as their symmetry or simplicity? Or do they rely on merely subjective responses particular to the perspective of the mathematician?
- Is mathematical beauty a genuine aesthetic category? Or is it reducible to non-aesthetic criteria such as, for instance, epistemic virtues? If not, does the phenomenon of mathematical beauty pose any problems to the traditional view, accepted by many aestheticians, that appreciation of the beautiful is directed towards sensible objects and employs our sensible faculties?
- Can aesthetic considerations play any legitimate role in mathematical or scientific theorising? Is there a connection between the elegance of mathematical formalism, e.g. the use of differential forms to express Maxwell's equations or the use of group theory in quantum mechanics, and the truth of a scientific theory?
- Does the phenomenon of aesthetics in mathematics reveal any important analogies between mathematical and artistic practice? How, in particular, are we to construe the role of imagination in mathematics, and how does it compare with the role of imagination in the arts?
Please feel free to contact the organisers with any questions you may have at: bsam14@...
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