, Volume 194, Issue 7, pp 2581–2594 | Cite as

Poincaré’s aesthetics of science

  • Milena IvanovaEmail author


This paper offers a systematic analysis of Poincaré’s understanding of beauty in science. In particular, the paper examines the epistemic significance Poincaré attributes to aesthetic judgement by reconstructing and analysing his arguments on simplicity and unity in science. I offer a consistent reconstruction of Poincaré’s account and show that for Poincaré simplicity and unity are regulative principles, linked to the aim of science—that of achieving understanding of how phenomena relate. I show how Poincaré’s account of beauty in science can be incorporated within his wider philosophy of science.


Aesthetic Values Simplicity Unity Henri Poincaré Scientific realism 



I would like to thank the two anonymous referees for this journal for their helpful comments, as well as the audiences at the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, Universities of Helsinki, Rome and Konstanz. Matt Farr deserves special thanks for his support and encouragement during the time in which this paper was written. I dedicate this work to Dr. Domenika Turkiewicz and the team at the Mater Breast Cancer Center in Brisbane for their great care.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Fakultät für Philosophie, Wissenschaftstheorie und ReligionswissenschaftMunich Center for Mathematical PhilosophyMünchenGermany

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