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I recently read that a cofree $R$-module is defined in such a way that some properties of free modules and some properties of cofree modules are dual. For example see here.

  • Every free module is projective; every cofree module is injective.

  • For every module $M$, there is a surjective homomorphism from a free module to $M$; for every module $M$, there is an injective homomorphism from $M$ to a cofree module.

  • A module is projective iff it can be completed by a direct sum to a free module; a module is injective iff it can be completed by a direct product to a cofree module.

But it is also pointed that free and cofree modules are not exactly duals of each other in some sense.

I was thinking that there could be a property of free modules, whose dual does not hold for cofree modules and vice-versa.

Question: What are simple properties of free modules whose duals do not hold true for co-free modules? (Similar question with free and cofree interchanged!)

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  • $\begingroup$ The definition of cofree modules (that I am aware of) is kind of ad hoc: Hilton and Stammbach just say that $M$ is cofree if it is a product of $R$-modules $\operatorname{Hom}_\mathbb{Z} (R, \mathbb{Q}/\mathbb{Z})$. This resembles the situation with free modules, but free modules have a nice characterization: the functor $X \rightsquigarrow R \left<X\right>$ is left adjoint to the forgetful functor $R\textbf{-Mod} \to \textbf{Set}$. Do cofree modules have a similar description? Because taking direct sums/products of copies of something is not a definition but more like a construction. $\endgroup$ – user144221 Oct 13 '16 at 17:40
  • $\begingroup$ (Well, a really similar description is impossible; some nice characterization, not just an ad hoc construction.) $\endgroup$ – user144221 Oct 13 '16 at 17:51

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