Vol. 16 No. 2 (2023): Towards a new “aesthetics of war”? Is Polemos still father of all things?

Mathematical beauty: On the aesthetic qualities of formal language

Deborah De Rosa
Università della Calabria

Published 2024-02-06


  • mathematics,
  • beauty,
  • phenomenology,
  • Gestaltpsychologie,
  • Rota

How to Cite

De Rosa, D. (2024). Mathematical beauty: On the aesthetic qualities of formal language. Aisthesis. Pratiche, Linguaggi E Saperi dell’estetico, 16(2), 121–131. https://doi.org/10.36253/Aisthesis-14790


The paper proposes a reflection on mathematical beauty, considering the possibility of aesthetic qualities for formal language. Through a concise overview of the way this question is understood by some famous scientists and mathematicians, we turn our attention to Gian-Carlo Rota’s theoretical proposal: his reflections as a mathematician and philosopher offer a perspective, of phenomenological matrix, fruitful for looking at the question. Rota’s contribution allows us to focus on the role of competence, acquired through effort, sedimentation and habit of repetition, in cultivating the potential to recognise the aesthetic quality of formal language. Finally, we draw on some contributions from Gestalt theory, closely connected to twentieth-century phenomenology for chronological and conceptual reasons, applying the idea of gestalt wholeness to the mathematical product and proposing some reflections that may help to clarify some of the dynamics underlying the attribution of qualities of beauty to formulas or the detection of its lack.


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