The aesthetics of the scientific image
Taylor and Francis
2053-9320 (Print), 2053-9339 (Online)
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Images in science are often beautiful but their beauty cannot be explained using traditional aesthetic theories. Available theories either rely upon concepts antithetical to science, e.g. regularity as an index of God’s design, or they omit concepts intrinsic to scientific imaging, e.g. the image is taken as a representation of ‘beautiful nature’. I argue that the scientific image is not a representation but a construction: a series of mutually defining intra-actions, where ‘intra-action’ signifies that the object depicted cannot be extricated from the technologies of picturing. But how can the beauty of intra-active, picturing-depicted constructions be explained, when philosophical aesthetics traditionally understands objects of appreciation to be distinct, discrete items? I argue that metaphor provides a model for the aesthetics of the scientific image, on the grounds that it is itself an intra-action that promotes salience in perception.
Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology;Vol. 2.2, pp. 1-23.
Cazeaux, C. 2015. The aesthetics of the scientific image. Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology, vol. 2.2, pp. 1-23.
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