Engaging Science, Artistically

  • Vadim Keyser


In this discussion I show that philosophy of science concepts, especially where examples and thought experiments are limiting, can be enriched with artistic examples. I argue that artistic examples show abstract components and relations that can then be used to engage with philosophical concepts. First, I discuss a useful representational model for thinking about the process of science as analogous to the process of art. I set up philosophy of science as not only open, but also closely connected to art by using Giere’s (2006) and van Fraassen’s (2008) discussions of the connection between scientific and artistic perspectives. Second, I show how artistic examples can be engaging and informative for teaching philosophy of science concepts. I apply two artistic examples to the concept of quantum measurement ‘indeterminacy’: Jackson Pollock’s artistic process and Mark Dior’s fallen hemlock. Finally, I use anecdotal experience of creating art with a philosophy of science class in order to apply indeterminacy to social properties.