Morel and Voevoedsky developed what is now called motivic homotopy theory, which aims to apply techniques of algebraic topology to algebraic varieties and, more generally, to schemes. A simple way of stating the idea is that we wish to find a model structure on some algebraic category related to that of varieties or that of schemes, so as to apply homotopy theory in an abstract sense.

The uninitiated will find the name of the theory intriguing, and will perceive the simple idea presented above as a very fair approach, but upon reading the details of the theory, he might get somewhat puzzled, if not worried, about some of its aspects. We begin with the following aspects, which are added for completeness.

The relevant category we start out with is not a category of schemes, but a much larger category of simplicial sheaves over the category of smooth schemes endowed with a suitable Grothendieck topology. A relevant MathOverflow topic is here.

The choice of Grothendieck topology is the Nisnevich topology, the reasons being discussed right over here.

The choice of smooth schemes rather than arbitrary schemes has been discussed here.

Let us now suppose the uninitiated has accepted the technical reasons that are mentioned inside the linked pages, and that he will henceforth ignore whatever aesthetic shortcomings he may still perceive. He continues reading through the introduction, but soon finds himself facing two more aspects which worries him even more.

The resulting homotopy theory does not behave as our rough intuition would like. In particular, what we might reasonable want to hold, such as the fact that a space ought to be homotopy equivalent to the product of itself with the affine line, is false. We solve the issue by simply forcing them to be homotopy equivalent, and hope that whatever theory rolls out is more satisfactory.

There are

*two*intuitive analogues of spheres in algebraic geometry, and the theory does not manage to identify them. We solve the issue by just leaving both of them into the game, accepting that all homology and cohomology theories will be bigraded, and we hope that this doesn't cause issues.

The fact that the resulting theory is satisfactory, has proved itself over time. But hopefully the reader will not find it unreasonable that the uninitiated perceives the two issues mentioned above as a warning sign that the approach is on the wrong track, if not the 'wrong' one altogether; moreover, he will perceive the solutions presented as 'naive', as though it were but a symptomatic treatment of aforementioned warning signs.

Question.How would you convince the uninitiated that Voevodsky's approach of motivic homotopy theory is 'the right one'?

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