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Poincaré’s aesthetics of science


DOI: 10.1007/s11229-016-1069-1

Cite this article as:
Ivanova, M. Synthese (2016). doi:10.1007/s11229-016-1069-1


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 

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© 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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