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category theory (uncountable)

  1. (mathematics) A branch of mathematics which deals with spaces and maps between them in abstraction, taking similar theorems from various disparate more concrete branches of mathematics and unifying them.
    • 1984, Robert Goldblatt, Topoi, the categorial analysis of logic, p. 3
      As mentioned earlier set theory provides a general conceptual framework for mathematics. Now, since category theory, through the notion of topos, has succeeded in axiomatising set-theory, the outcome is an entirely new categorial foundation of mathematics! The category-theorists attitude that "function" rather than "set membership" can be seen as the fundamental mathematical concept has been entirely vindicated. The pre-eminent role of set theory in contemporary mathematics is suddenly challenged. A revolution has occurred in the history of mathematical ideas (albeit a peaceful one) that will undoubtedly influence the direction of the path to the future.