Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Proof of Self-Proof; 12 of 15

          Why Elegance Works

          The physicist Eugene Wigner asked, in his article “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics”, why mathematics works at all, let alone as elegantly as it does. I submit that mathematics works so well precisely because it is elegant; for an elegant theory is Löbian by nature. A well-designed mathematical theory minimizes the risk of error by using simple processes on compact forms. An elegant theory obeys William of Ockham’s injunction not to multiply entities without necessity. The best theories are devoid of complications.
          Whenever we investigate the universe, we soon learn that our ignorance is infinite. Elegance allows us to express that infinite ignorance gracefully. An elegant theory is dumb but pretty.

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