The idea is not to paint a realistic portrait but to capture the spirit of the phenomenon with a caricature.

The Mathematical Tourist

. 1988

One of the things we tried to do in the hook was to be very explicit about the difference between our theoretical account of statements, propositions and truth, and our mathematical models of these things. ... we developed set-theoretic models of the key notions involved, much in the way an orrery is a model of, but not a theory of, the motion of the planets.
We ... think it is the right way to understand the pervasive use of set theory in formal semantics. ... we explicitly confronted issues about whether some aspect of the model was a reflection of the domain modeled or, rather, an artifact of the way we chose to model it. The wires that hold the orrery's spheres do not commit its designer to any claim about what holds the planets in place. Similarly, we have seen many features of our set-theoretic models that do not reflect theoretical commitments about the nature of the semantic objects modeled.

The Liar

, pp193-4. 1987