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Aesthetics and Agency in Experiments

Murphy, Alice and Currie, Adrian and Walsh, Kirsten (2022) Aesthetics and Agency in Experiments. [Preprint]

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to place agency front-and-center in the aesthetics of science, in particular, in the aesthetics of experiments. Our strategy is to consider how elements of experimental design serve to generate aesthetic experiences in those carrying out the experiment: in addition to well-designed experiments generating clear, elegant results, they also confront the experimenter with the experimental phenomena, afford the exercise of agency throughout experimental runs, and underlie stable, intersubjective experiences across agents. Taking our queue from C. Thi Nguyen’s recent Games: Agency as Art (2020), we draw an analogy between experiments and games: both involve artificial practical environments which are designed to give participants an aesthetic experience of their own agency. We apply the account to Newton’s optical work and contrast these with contemporary experimental practices, where significantly more ‘experimental distance’ holds between the experimenter and the result. Taking the agency of experimental practice seriously enables a richer account of the role of aesthetic values, sensibility and judgments in science.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Murphy, Alicealicemlmurphy@gmail.com0000-0002-3707-6872
Currie, Adrian
Walsh, Kirsten
Subjects: General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > Values In Science
Depositing User: Dr Alice Murphy
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2022 14:18
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2022 14:18
Item ID: 21108
Subjects: General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > Values In Science
Date: 2022
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/21108

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