The Notion of Fit as a Mathematical Value
2016 (English)In: Mathematical Cultures: The London Meetings 2012-2014 / [ed] Brendan Larvor, Basel: Birkhäuser Verlag, 2016, 271-285 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Fit, or the lack of it, might occur in a large number of different settings, from visual art, to music, to relationships between people, and so on. This paper explores the metaphor of beauty as fit as it occurs in mathematics. The central claim is that, be it instantiated in the relationship of a type of tree to its natural shape or of a particular proof to a theorem, fit is what brings about the feeling that that tree or that theorem is beautiful. The greater the degree of fit, the greater our sense of beauty (given that we have the requisite understanding to appreciate the fit.) This claim will not be fully defended, but we will set up some ground work for doing so. In particular, the paper will illustrate two distinct types of fit in mathematics via contrasting examples of proofs typically held to be beautiful or not beautiful.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Basel: Birkhäuser Verlag, 2016. 271-285 p.
, Trends in the History of Science, ISSN 2297-2951
Research subject Aesthetics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-124742DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-28582-5ISBN: 978-3-319-28582-5OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-124742DiVA: diva2:954671