The Dawdler’s Philosophy

E23: The Moonlight Walks - Aesthetics in Science

January 13, 2019

Yeats repeats “a terrible beauty is born” in his poem “Easter, 1916”. The poem expresses the emotional limbo of Yeats as he grapples with the post World War I Irish rebellion in response to the broken promise of Irish liberation. Out of acts of violence, comes the hope of freedom. Or is it the hope of freedom that fuels acts of violence?

Whence progress?

Do we make progress with ideas, and if so, does it not require a "terrible beauty" as a means of initiation?

In this episode the Dawdler’s use Sabine Hossenfelder’s book “Lost in Math” as a guide to explore where, if anywhere, we ought to place appeals to beauty in our intellectual searches. It’s a theme that has surfaced now and again on the podcast and here the Dawdlers take a bit of a plunge.

Settle down with your inner chimp. It’s about to get unreasonable.

00:06:43 – Topic Introduction

00:12:54 – Philosophy of Aesthetics? // Two Theses on Taste

00:22:44 – G.E.P. Box’s Scientific Feedback Loop

00:26:16 – Falsifiability vs. Unplausifiability // Constraints on the Foundations of Physics

00:37:36 – Arguments from Beauty/“Naturalness” // Symmetry Stuff

00:52:24 – Biases

00:56:00 – Harland and Ryan duke it out about aesthetic concerns in ideas?

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