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Claims about the beauty of theories and explanations are often inspired by the Platonic vision that beauty will lead us to truth. By contrast, Kant’s aesthetics is commonly regarded as providing the most influential critique of this vision. In this paper, I show that this popular contrast is mistaken in important respects. By examining Kant’s views in comparison with those of his immediate contemporaries, A. G. Baumgarten and G. F. Meier, I show that the Kantian position offers an important alternative to the Platonic ideal; namely, a conception of the beauty of science that is independent of the science of beauty.