Aesthetics, Mathematics and Philosophy: Is there an Intersection?
Juliet Floyd, Boston University
09:00-09:30 Thursday April 4
I shall explore some of the difficulties surrounding talk of aesthetics (or taste) in mathematics. The focus will be on the notion of simplicity. 1) Shall we take "simple", as a term of criticism, to be truly "aesthetic"? 2) Can simplicity be considered epistemologically relevant? 3) How systematic do we take mathematicians' and artist's uses of this notion to be? 4) What might it mean, philosophically, to regard mathematical structures, concepts, and objects as aesthetic objects? I approach these questions through discussion of relevant works and remarks by Kant, Wittgenstein, Sheffer, Gödel, Turing, Mel Bochner, and Fred Sandback.