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A framework of abstractions
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This project catalogs abstractions relating to language, knowledge, design, models, systems, and abstraction itself. These abstractions serve as mental tools for reasoning about fields such as government, economics, psychology, technology, and science.

WARNING: This is a work in progress. Parts may be outright or subtly wrong, incomplete, oversimplified, or inconsistent, and many statements are given little to no justification or explanation. Some notes are not yet ready to be made public because they need verification, cleanup, or refactoring. Consequently, some links are broken. These remaining notes will be added as they reach an acceptable state.

See for this project's guiding principles and rationale, along with caveats about its use. contains an overview of the patterns grouped roughly by correspondence, which may be helpful for guiding exploration.


  • {note}: a side-note about the presentation or construction of a pattern, not about the pattern itself
  • {alt1, alt2}: a list of alternative words or phrases
  • a heading designates the start of a sub-pattern

Each pattern is composed of some or all of the following:

  • a description
  • examples
  • properties
  • analogies and sayings/proverbs
  • useful terminology
  • relationships to other patterns


If something can be improved, please let me know. I'm specifically looking for feedback in the following areas:

  • title for the project as a whole
  • pattern names: any that have unfitting names or already have conventional names
  • language/terminology issues, improvements, additions
  • oversimplifications (if they can be improved without sacrificing concision)
  • new and interesting examples, counterexamples, issues with existing examples
  • writing style
  • presentation format, general approach
  • related works (other than those already listed)


Donations are greatly appreciated and can be made using one of the methods below. All contributions go toward the development of this project.

Cryptocurrency | Square Cash | Paypal

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