Hermann von Helmholtz-Zentrum für Kulturtechnik

Zentralinstitut der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Defining the Concept of the Model

Bernd Mahr, Reinhard Wendler, Jens Gulden

The project seeks to pursue the hypothesis developed in our earlier work, namely that it is possible to reach a unified concept of the model. Our objective is to contribute to defining the concept of the model. Working collaboratively as three subprojects, we will (1) develop the foundations of a general theory of the model, based on a conceptual analysis and classification of the factual relationships that constitute the essence of models; (2) study the phenomenon of restructuring and rendering understandable through models in investigations into hierarchical structures grounded in cultural history and image theory; and (3) determine the conditions and techniques for a formal discipline and heuristics of modelling by studying diagrammatic forms of representation. Based on this work and studies of selected historical and contemporary examples, we will seek to identify forms of model development and use in prototypical, pragmatic contexts and to explore the question of whether models can be conceived as a fundamental cultural technique for abstracting and transferring. Our project work will centre on the orders and grids that make up the architecture of many models in the form of divisions, classifications, hierarchies, steps, trees, grids, matrices, triangulations and multidimensional grids. In this it follows the history of the concept of the model.