Mathematical Models of Abstract Systems: Knowing abstract geometric forms

Annales de la Faculté des Sciences de Toulouse 22 (5):969-1016 (2013)
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Scientists use models to know the world. It i susually assumed that mathematicians doing pure mathematics do not. Mathematicians doing pure mathematics prove theorems about mathematical entities like sets, numbers, geometric figures, spaces, etc., they compute various functions and solve equations. In this paper, I want to exhibit models build by mathematicians to study the fundamental components of spaces and, more generally, of mathematical forms. I focus on one area of mathematics where models occupy a central role, namely homotopy theory. I argue that mathematicians introduce genuine models and I offer a rough classification of these models.

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Jean-Pierre Marquis
Université de Montréal


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