Symmetry, Proportion and Seriality: The Semantics of Mirroring and Repetition in Science and the Arts#

The panels, which follow the plenary addresses in Sections I, II and III, are intended as forums for open debate between the panellists and the audience. The brief outline below is accordingly intended only as an opening gambit and as a suggestion regarding possible discussion topics.


This section concentrates on the aesthetic effects of symmetry, proportion and mirroring effects both in the humanities (e.g. in metre, in art, in music) and in the sciences (e.g. the proportions and aesthetic properties of equations or of theoretical models). More fundamentally, all theorizing is actuated by a desire for simplicity and pregnancy, which often goes hand in hand with a tendency towards symmetry or proportionate arrangements. Cognitive analysis of mirror neurons has also shown that our urge for imitation is based on a repetition compulsion that works through identification, and which proposes a very convincing explanation of poetic and everyday mimesis. These issues seem to suggest that symmetry, proportion and mirroring are constitutive of aesthetic appreciation but also central to cognition and understanding as well as to creative modelling in general.

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