Various structures are studied in category theory using properties of objects and morphisms between them. Many constructions are special cases of categorical limits and colimits (e.g. products in various categories). The notions of functor and natural transformations are very important in category ...

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18
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Equivalent conditions for a preabelian category to be abelian

Let's fix some terminology first. A category $\mathcal{C}$ is preabelian if: 1) $Hom_{\mathcal{C}}(A,B)$ is an abelian group for every $A,B$ such that composition is biadditive, 2) $\mathcal{C}$ has ...
20
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2answers
1k views

Category-theoretic limit related to topological limit?

Is there any connection between category-theoretic term 'limit' (=universal cone) over diagram, and topological term 'limit point' of a sequence, function, net...? To be more precise, is there a ...
135
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6answers
9k views

In (relatively) simple words: What is an inverse limit?

I am a set theorist in my orientation, and while I did take a few courses that brushed upon categorical and algebraic constructions, one has always eluded me. The inverse limit. I tried to ask one of ...
65
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8answers
9k views

When to learn category theory?

I'm a undergraduate who wishes to learn category theory but I only have basic knowledge of linear algebra and set theory, I've also had a short course on number theory which used some basic concepts ...
25
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2answers
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Yoneda-Lemma as generalization of Cayley`s theorem?

I came across the statement, that Yoneda-lemma is a generalization of Cayley`s theorem which states, that every group is isomorphic to a group of permutations. How exactly does generalizes ...
17
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1answer
595 views

Analogue of the Cantor-Bernstein-Schroeder theorem for general algebraic structures

The Cantor-Bernstein-Schroeder theorem states that if there are two sets $A$ and $B$ such that there exist injective (alternatively, surjective, assuming choice I think) maps $A \to B$ and $B \to A$, ...
43
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1answer
982 views

In categorical terms, why is there no canonical isomorphism from a finite dimensional vector space to its dual?

I've read in several places that one motivation for category theory was to be able to give precise meaning to statements like, "finite dimensional vector spaces are canonically isomorphic to their ...
14
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3answers
976 views

What are the epimorphisms in the category of Hausdorff spaces?

It appears to be the case that the epimorphisms in $\text{Haus}$ are precisely the maps with dense image. This is claimed in various places, but a comment on my blog has made me doubt the source I got ...
6
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2answers
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Adjoint functors

I'm trying to wrap my brain around adjoint functors. One of the examples I've seen is the categories $\bf IntLE \bf = (\mathbb{Z}, ≤)$ and $\bf RealLE \bf = (\mathbb{R}, ≤)$, where the ceiling functor ...
33
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6answers
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What is a universal property?

Sorry, but I do not understand the formal definition of "universal property" as given at Wikipedia. To make the following summary more readable I do equate "universal" with "initial" and omit the ...
7
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2answers
194 views

''Labelling discrimination'' for objects in a category

I am not particularly used to the category theory thinking paradigm and there are certain statements that I am used to making in the set theoretic modelling approach that I would like to characterize ...
8
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2answers
240 views

Defining algebras over noncommutative rings

A definition of "algebra" (that is, an associative algebra, in the sense of ring theory) generally requires a commutative base ring. But there are cases where it's reasonable to consider algebras ...
8
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1answer
677 views

Is an equivalence an adjunction?

Let $C$ and $D$ be categories and $F:C\to D$, $G:D\to C$ two functors. $F$ is left-adjoint to $G$, if there are natural transformations $\eta:id_C\to GF$ and $\epsilon:FG\to id_D$ such that ...
8
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4answers
330 views

Categorial definition of subsets

I cannot see why this definition http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subobject is equivalent to subsets in the category of sets. I am confused by the following facts, 1) the partial order is defined ...
5
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2answers
125 views

Sequences or 'chains' of adjoint functors [duplicate]

Suppose we have (some categories and some functors such that) $F_1$ is left adjoint to $G_1$, $G_1$ left adjoint to $F_2$, $F_2$ left adjoint to $G_2$. Will $F_1$ then be equal to $F_2$ (and $G_1$ to ...
40
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5answers
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Why should I care about adjoint functors

I am comfortable with the definition of adjoint functors. I have done a few exercises proving that certain pairs of functors are adjoint (tensor and hom, sheafification and forgetful, direct image and ...
38
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4answers
4k views

What is category theory useful for?

Okay so I understand what calculus, linear algebra, combinatorics and even topology try to answer, but why invent category theory? In wikipedia it says it is to formalize. As far as I can tell it sort ...
38
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7answers
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Why are topological spaces interesting to study?

In introductory real analysis, I dealt only with $\mathbb{R}^n$. Then I saw that limits can be defined in more abstract spaces than $\mathbb{R}^n$, namely the metric spaces. This abstraction seemed ...
20
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3answers
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What is a natural isomorphism?

I came across the adjective "natural" many times in my reading and I think this has something to do with category theory. Could someone please illustrate the idea behind this adjective to me? Many ...
15
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3answers
711 views

Mathematical structures

Preamble: My previous education was focused either on classical analysis (which was given in quite old traditions, I guess) or on applied Mathematics. Since I was feeling lack of knowledge in 'modern' ...
21
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1answer
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Abelian categories and axiom (AB5)

Let $\mathcal{A}$ be an abelian category. We say that $\mathcal{A}$ satisfies (AB5) if $\mathcal{A}$ is cocomplete and filtered colimits are exact. In Weibel's Introduction to homological algebra, ...
42
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1answer
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Was Grothendieck familiar with Stone's work on Boolean algebras?

In short, my question is: Was Grothendieck familiar with Stone's work on Boolean algebras? Background: In an answer to Pierre-Yves Gaillard's question Did Zariski really define the Zariski ...
22
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6answers
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What's the deal with empty models in first-order logic?

Asaf's answer here reminded me of something that should have been bothering me ever since I learned about it, but which I had more or less forgotten about. In first-order logic, there is a convention ...
8
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1answer
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Unique up to unique isomorphism

If an object $X$ has a non-trivial automorphism $g$, for any isomorphism $f$ with an object $Y$ there is another isomorphism $f \circ g$ between $X$ and $Y$, so there is not a unique isomorphism ...
10
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2answers
431 views

Tensor product of monoids and arbitrary algebraic structures

Question. Do you know a specific example which demonstrates that the tensor product of monoids (as defined below) is not associative? Let $C$ be the category of algebraic structures of a fixed ...
6
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1answer
389 views

Functionally structured spaces and manifolds

The question requires some definitions that I have listed below for your convenience. They can be found in Chapter VI, pages 297-298 of Bredon's Introduction to Compact Transformation Groups. On a ...
4
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2answers
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Categorical Pasting Lemma

If I'm not mistaken, the pasting lemma for a two-element open cover $X=A\cup B$ of a topological space is equivalent to saying that the following square is a pushout in $\mathsf{Top}$: ...
4
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1answer
206 views

Is it necessary for the homsets to be disjoint in a category?

In defining a (locally small) category, some books include the condition that if $A\neq C$ or $B\neq D$, then $\hom(A,B)$ and $\hom(C,D)$ are disjoint sets. Is it necessary?
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1answer
322 views

Direct products in the category Rel

Please describe direct products in the category Rel.
4
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1answer
301 views

Strictly associative coproducts

Background. This question belongs to evil mathematics. It is motivated by this question which links to a paper in which it is claimed that it is an open problem whether there exists strictly ...
1
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2answers
185 views

category of linear maps

Let $V,W$ be vector spaces. Let's define a category whose objects are linear map $f:V\to W$ and morphisms from $f$ to $g$ are pair of linear maps $(\alpha,\beta)$ where $\alpha:V\to V,\beta :W\to W$ ...
5
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1answer
340 views

Injective Cogenerators in the Category of Modules over a Noetherian Ring

Let $R$ be a Noetherian ring and let $\mathcal{A}$ be an injective $R$-module. The injectivity of $\mathcal{A}$ is equivalent to the exactness of the functor $Hom_R(-,\mathcal{A})$, i.e. whenever we ...
3
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1answer
284 views

Do pullbacks commute with filtered limits in this sense?

Let $A_n, B_n, C_n$ be directed systems in some abelian category. Denote by $A \times_C B$ the fibre product of $A$ and $B$ over $C$. Is it true that $(\varprojlim A_n) \times_{\varprojlim C_n} ...
32
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4answers
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A bestiary about adjunctions

What is your favourite adjoint? Following Mac Lane philosophy adjoints are everywhere, so I would like to draw a (possibly but unprobably) exhaustive list of adjunctions one faces in studying ...
38
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4answers
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Can someone explain the Yoneda Lemma to an applied mathematician?

I have trouble following the category-theoretic statement and proof of the Yoneda Lemma. Indeed, I followed a category theory course for 4-5 lectures (several years ago now) and felt like I understood ...
25
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1answer
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Quotient objects, their universal property and the isomorphism theorems

This is a question that has been bothering me for quite a while. Let me put between quotation marks the terms that are used informally. "Quotient objects" are always the same. Take groups, abelian ...
26
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1answer
418 views

Rigidity of the category of fields

Let's call a category rigid if every self-equivalence is isomorphic to the identity. For example, $\mathsf{Set}$, $\mathsf{Grp}$, $\mathsf{Ab}$, $\mathsf{CRing}$ (MO/106838), $\mathsf{Top}$ ...
41
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1answer
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Functions $f:\mathbb{N}\rightarrow \mathbb{Z}$ such that $\left(m-n\right) \mid \left(f(m)-f(n)\right)$

A long time back, I wondered what functions other than integer polynomials on $\mathbb{N}$ (or $\mathbb{Z}$) satisfied the property: $$\forall m,n: \left(m-n\right) \mid \left(f(m)-f(n)\right)$$ ...
21
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8answers
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Real world applications of category theory

I was reading some basic information from Wiki about category theory and honestly speaking I have a very weak knowledge about it. As it sounds interesting, I will go into the theory to learn more if ...
16
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2answers
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what are the product and coproduct in the category of topological groups

I know the limits in the categories of groups, abelian groups and topological spaces and was wondering about the same thing.
22
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1answer
675 views

On the large cardinals foundations of categories

(This was cross-posted to MathOverflow.) It is well-known that there are difficulties in developing basic category theory within the confines of $\sf ZFC$. One can overcome these problems when ...
20
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4answers
2k views

Reference request: compact objects in R-Mod are precisely the finitely-presented modules?

Let $R$ be a ring. According to this MO question, the modules $M \in R\text{-Mod}$ such that $\text{Hom}(M, -)$ preserves all filtered colimits (the compact objects) are precisely the ...
15
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1answer
844 views

Adjoint functors as “conceptual inverses”

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's article on category theory claims that adjoint functors can be thought of as "conceptual inverses" of each other. For example, the forgetful functor "ought ...
11
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4answers
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Right adjoints preserve limits

In Awodey's book I read a slick proof that right adjoints preserve limits. If $F:\mathcal{C}\to \mathcal{D}$ and $G:\mathcal{D}\to \mathcal{C}$ is a pair of functors such that $(F,G)$ is an ...
11
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4answers
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“The Yoneda embedding reflects exactness” is a direct consequence of Yoneda?

Let $A,B,C$ be objects of a category of modules over a ring. It is not hard to see that the Yoneda embedding "reflects exactness" (as Weibel puts it, on p. 28), i.e. if ...
8
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1answer
863 views

Infinite coproduct of rings

I just learned from Wikipedia that coproduct of two (commutative) rings is given by tensor product over integers, and that coproduct of a family of rings is given by a "construction analogous to the ...
13
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1answer
781 views

The categories Set and Ens

I've recently started reading Categories for the Working Mathematician and I'm a little puzzled about the distinction between $\textbf{Set}$ and $\textbf{Ens}$. On the one hand, it seems like ...
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3answers
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Epimorphism and Monomorphism = Isomorphism?

It seems to be that if a map is both an epimorphism and a monomorphism, it is not necessarily the case that it is an isomorphism. However, in the category of sets, if a map is both an epimorphism and ...
7
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2answers
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Is gcd the right adjoint of something?

In his answer link to the question whether $a|m$ and $a+1|m$ implies $a(a+1)|m$, Bill Dubuque takes a detour to derive the equality $$ \gcd(a,b)=ab/\mathrm{lcm}(a,b) $$ from the universal property of ...