This is an insightful addition to the aesthetics of theories literature that advances the debate in a myriad of ways.
Brickhouse-Bryson (philosophy, Univ. of Lynchburg) presents a nimble and conceptually agile account of the role of aesthetic criteria in theory evaluation. In five succinct chapters, each confined to the careful articulation of a major premise in a concisely unfolding argument, the author presents the fullest defense given, at least since Kant's masterwork the Critique of Judgment (1790), that judgments of aesthetic value, like beauty and simplicity, feature in the intersubjective appraisal of "systems of thought," such as how true or useful one takes explanatory theories to be. On Brickhouse-Bryson's reading, such threadbare notions as simplicity and systematicity unavoidably feature in every theory-evaluation, whether these relate to how well theories fit the data or how elegant or simple one construes their scope. Judgments of beauty help one identify "systems as systems," since they feature not only in the selection-level, between competing systematicity theories (regarding their respective aptitudes for simplicity), but also in their construction phase (regarding their exhibition of systematicity) and are even apparent in their Kuhnian phase (regarding their capacity for paradigm shift). A well-written, stimulating read, this book would make a perfect resource for seminars in a variety of disciplines. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty.