Mathematical Aspects of Similarity and Quasi-analysis - Order, Topology, and Sheaves

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Abstract
The concept of similarity has had a rather mixed reputation in philosophy and the sciences. On the one hand, philosophers such as Goodman and Quine emphasized the „logically repugnant“ and „insidious“ character of the concept of similarity that allegedly renders it inaccessible for a proper logical analysis. On the other hand, a philosopher such as Carnap assigned a central role to similarity in his constitutional theory. Moreover, the importance and perhaps even indispensibility of the concept of similarity for many empirical sciences can hardly be denied. The aim of this paper is to show that Quine’s and Goodman’s harsh verdicts about this notion are mistaken. The concept of similarity is susceptible to a precise logico-mathematical analysis through which its place in the conceptual landscape of modern mathematical theories such as order theory, topology, and graph theory becomes visible. Thereby it can be shown that a quasi-analysis of a similarity structure S can be conceived of as a sheaf (etale space) over S.
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First archival date: 2015-11-21
Latest version: 2 (2015-11-21)
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2013-12-24

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