Category (category theory)

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A category, $\mathcal{C}$, is a mathematical object consisting of:

  • A class, $\text{Ob}(\mathcal{C})$ of objects.
  • For every pair of objects $A,B\in \text{Ob}(\mathcal{C})$, a class $\text{Hom}(A,B)$ of morphisms from $A$ to $B$. (We sometimes write $f:A \to B$ to mean $f\in \text{Hom}(A,B)$.)
  • For every three objects, $A,B,C \in \mathcal{C}$, a binary operation $\circ: \text{Hom}(B,C) \times \text{Hom}(A,B) \to \text{Hom}(A,C)$ called composition, which satisfies:
    • (associativity) Given $f:A\to B$, $g:B\to C$ and $h:C \to D$ we have \[h\circ(g\circ f) = (h \circ g)\circ f.\]
    • (identity) For and object $X$, there is an identity morphism $1_X:X\to X$ such that for any $f:A\to B$: \[1_B\circ f = f = f\circ 1_A.\]

The class of all morphisms of $\mathcal{C}$ is denoted $\text{Hom}(\mathcal{C})$.

A category $\mathcal{C}$ is called small if both $\text{Ob}(\mathcal{C})$ and $\text{Hom}(\mathcal{C})$ are sets. If $\mathcal{C}$ is not small, then it is called large. $\mathcal{C}$ is called locally small if $\text{Hom}(A,B)$ is a set for all $A,B\in \text{Ob}(\mathcal{C})$. Most important categories in math are not small, but are locally small. This article is a stub. Help us out by expanding it.

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