Plato‘s star pupil, and the tutor of Alexander the Great, was more than just a speculator, a day-dreaming ponderer of ideas, for starting as early as the Pre-Socratics, the philosophers of ancient Greece were also the first known scientists of the West.
While attributed with a dislike of experimentation starting with Plato, Greek philosophy was very strong on mathematics, and though long division was the province of master mathematicians and the concept of Zero unheard of until the advent of Hindu-Arabic numerals, the Greeks were nonetheless capable of sophisticated calculations, which with some of Aristotle’s predecessors penchant for experiments, probably starting with Thales of Miletus, produced powerful, and for the time, advanced science.
Here, the father of Western thought puts in his two-cents on the matter of beauty in math, which in most educational systems is overlooked, conveying the image that math is boring, and that in using it, science strips all wonder and majesty from the world, reducing nature to a dull and lifeless reductionism.
Here, he roundly criticizes the claim that math has no use for matters of aesthetics or values, and that even in these regimes, it is a powerful and useful tool for quantifying the world, not just abstract thought disconnected from reality.
Those who assert that the mathematical sciences say nothing of the beautiful or the good are in error. For these sciences say and prove a great deal about them; if they do not expressly mention them, but prove attributes which are their results or definitions, it is not true that they tell us nothing about them. The chief forms of beauty are order and symmetry and definiteness, which the mathematical sciences demonstrate in a special degree.