Exploring the relationship between tacit models and mathematical infinity through history
Tamara Díaz-Chang 1 2 * , Elizabeth-H Arredondo 2
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1 Instituto de Ciencias Físicas y Matemáticas, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, CHILE2 Department of Exact Sciences, Universidad de Los Lagos, Osorno, CHILE* Corresponding Author


In this article we address the historical and epistemological study of infinity as a mathematical concept, focusing on identifying difficulties, counter-intuitive ideas and paradoxes that constituted implicit, unconscious models faced by mathematicians at different times in history, representing obstacles in the rigorous formalization process of this mathematical concept. It is shown how the active and conscious questioning of these models led to a process of axiomatization of mathematical infinity, which was completed with the works of Cantor (1883) and Robinson (1974). The implemented methodology is supported by a qualitative and argumentative bibliographic research based on content analysis from a meta-ethnography. From this research, information is obtained about the unconscious mathematical structures students are confronted with and the conscious patterns of reasoning they must develop to overcome difficulties and obstacles that these models produce, and thus achieve an adequate understanding of mathematical infinity.


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

INT ELECT J MATH ED, 2023, Volume 18, Issue 2, Article No: em0730


Publication date: 01 Apr 2023

Online publication date: 09 Jan 2023

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