This entry is about a category whose objects form a type rather than a set. For the specific type of paracategory also known as a precategory, in which all the composites are generated from binary and nullary ones, see paracategory.
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type theory (dependent, intensional, observational type theory, homotopy type theory)
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In homotopy type theory (or more generally intensional type theory), when defining a category (meaning a 1-category), one has to decide whether to impose an h-level restriction on the type of objects. A precategory is a category in which no such restriction is imposed; thus the type of objects may be a set (i.e. a 0-type), or a 1-type, or an even higher type.
Surprisingly much category theory can be done purely with precategories, and some authors call them merely “categories”. However, there are notable differences between precategories and the familiar notion of “category” from set-theoretic foundations. Moreover, the two do not coincide under the standard interpretation of homotopy type theory into set theory (e.g. the model in simplicial sets). Indeed, the semantics of a precategory is the 1-categorical analogue of a Segal space.
Alternative notions of “1-category” in homotopy type theory include strict categories, whose type of objects is a set, and univalent categories, whose type of objects is a 1-type whose identifications coincide with isomorphisms for the category structure. The latter are generally better-behaved and include naturally-occurring examples, but the former are sometimes technically useful.
There are also “even more pre-” notions of category in intensional type theory, such as E-categories.
A precategory $\mathcal{C}$ consists of
Of course, the latter two axioms are actually inhabitants of the identity type, hence are data included in the definition just like the first four. However, since each $Hom(A,B)$ is a set, such equalities are (typally) unique whenever they exist, so in most cases their presence as data can be ignored.
A precategory $\mathcal{C}$ consists of
a type $Mor(C)$ of morphisms (or arrows);
functions $s:Mor(C) \to Ob(C)$, called the source or domain, and $t:Mor(C) \to Ob(C)$, called its target or codomain, such that $s$ and $t$ are jointly 0-truncated: the type of functions $u:Mor(C) \to (Ob(C) \times Ob(C))$ such that the following conditions are met:
the fibers of $u$ at each pair of objects $a:Ob(C) \times Ob(C)$ is a set
for the universal product projection functions $\pi_1:(Ob(C) \times Ob(C)) \to Ob(C)$ and $\pi_2:(Ob(C) \times Ob(C)) \to Ob(C)$ out of the product type and for every morphism $f:Mor(C)$, there are identifications $\mathrm{leftuniversal}(f):\pi_1(u(f)) = s(f)$ and $\mathrm{rightuniversal}(f):\pi_2(u(f)) = t(f)$
is contractible:
This recalls the definition of a preorder, where the source and target functions are required to be jointly monic, i.e. jointly (-1)-truncated;
a function
called composition;
a function $id:Ob(C) \to Mor(C)$, called the identity;
such that the following properties are satisfied:
source and target are respected by composition: $s(g \circ f) = s(f)$ and $t(g\circ f) = t(g)$;
source and target are respected by identities: $s(1_x) = x$ and $t(1_x) = x$;
composition is associative: $(h \circ g)\circ f = h\circ (g \circ f)$ whenever $t(f) = s(g)$ and $t(g) = s(h)$;
composition satisfies the left and right unit laws: if $s(f) = x$ and $t(f) = y$, then $1_y \circ f = f = f \circ 1_x$.
The interpretation of the notion of precategory in the model of homotopy type theory in simplicial sets yields a Segal space in which the morphism $A_1 \to A_0 \times A_0$ has homotopically discrete fibers.
The definition of precategory is evidently a type-theoretic notion of the definition of category with a family of collections of morphisms. An equivalent definition analogous to the definition of category with one collection of morphisms could be given, but it would be much less convenient to use. In particular, the “type of all morphisms” $\sum_{A,B:Ob(\mathcal{C})} Hom(A,B)$ in a precategory is not itself a set, since it can incorporate nontrivial identifications from $Ob(\mathcal{C})$; the “hom-types are sets” condition in a one-type-of-morphisms definition of precategory would have to be stated as “the function $\mathcal{C}_1 \to \mathcal{C}_0$ is 0-truncated” (i.e. its fibers are sets).
Every precategory is a locally univalent E-category.
In univalent type theory there is a structure identity principle for precategories:
Equality of precategories in a univalent universe is the same as having a fully faithful equivalent-on-objects functor between precategories in the univalent universe.
This is because fully faithful functors establish an equivalence of hom-sets between the two precategories, and equivalent-on-objects functors establish an equivalence of object types between the two precategories, which means that fully faithful equivalent-on-objects functors is the right notion of equivalence between precategories.
Only in univalent categories are such functors the same as adjoint equivalence.
Univalent Foundations Project, Homotopy Type Theory – Univalent Foundations of Mathematics (2013)
Benedikt Ahrens, Chris Kapulkin, Michael Shulman, Univalent categories and the Rezk completion, Mathematical Structures in Computer Science 25 5 (From type theory and homotopy theory to Univalent Foundations of Mathematics), (2015) 1010-1039 $[$arXiv:1303.0584, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-21284-5_14$]$
Last revised on September 26, 2022 at 05:32:39. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.