# Questions tagged [category-theory]

Categories are structures containing objects and arrows between them. Many mathematical structures can be viewed as objects of a category, with structure preserving morphisms as arrows. Reformulating properties of mathematical objects in the general language of category can help one see connections between seemingly different areas of mathematics.

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### 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 ...
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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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 $B \to A$, ...
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### Abelianization of free group is the free abelian group

How does one prove that if $X$ is a set, then the abelianization of the free group $FX$ on $X$ is the free abelian group on $X$?
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### Good books and lecture notes about category theory.

What are the best books and lecture notes on category theory?
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### 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 ...
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### The "magic diagram" is cartesian

I am trying to solve an exercise from Vakil's lecture notes on algebraic geometry, namely, I want to show that $\require{AMScd}$ \begin{CD} X_1\times_Y X_2 @>>> X_1\times_Z X_2\\ @V V ...
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### Can it happen that the image of a functor is not a category?

On Hilton and Stammbach's homological algebra book, end of chap. 2, they wrote in general $F(\mathfrak{C})$ is not a category at all in general. But I don't quite get it. I checked the axioms of a ...
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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 ...
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### Does $G\oplus G \cong H\oplus H$ imply $G\cong H$ in general?

In this question, The Chaz asks whether $G\times G\cong H\times H$ implies that $G\cong H$, where $G$ and $H$ are finite abelian groups. The answer is to his question is yes, by the structure theorem ...
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### universal property in quotient topology

The following is a theorem in topology: Let $X$ be a topological space and $\sim$ an equivalence relation on $X$. Let $\pi: X\to X/\sim$ be the canonical projection. If $g : X → Z$ is a continuous ...
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### Do opposite categories always exist?

The opposite category of C is defined by setting hom(x,y)=hom(y,x) for all objects x,y of C. However in a concrete category, morphisms do not always have inverses (because functions don't always have ...
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### Let $C,D$ be categories and $F:C\to D$ and $G:D\to C$ be adjoint functors. Then $F$ is fully faithful iff the unit is an isomorphism?

Let $C,D$ be categories and $F:C\to D,G:D\to C$ be such that $F$ is a left adjoint of $G$. Prove that $F$ is fully faithful iff the unit is an isomorphism. (This is an exercise from the book by T. ...
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### What is category theory useful for?

Okay, so I understand what calculus, linear algebra, combinatorics and even topology try to answer (update: this is not the case in hindsight), but why invent category theory? In Wikipedia it says it ...
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### 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 finitely-...
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