If you're going to get lost and confused in the high weeds, you may as well have company, right? -Chris Aldrich
This book is designed to be read by scientists and other people. It has very few mathematical prerequisites; for example, it doesn't require calculus, linear algebra, or statistics. It starts by reintroducing the basics: What is a set? What is a function between sets?That said, having a teacher or resident expert will be very helpful. Category theory is a "paradigm shift"---it's a new way of looking at things. If you progress past the first few chapters, you'll see that it's a language for having very big thoughts and making unusually deep analogies.To make real progress in this book (unless you're used to reading university-level math books on your own) it will be useful to periodically check your understanding with someone who has some training in the subject. Seek out a math grad student or even a Haskell expert to help you. A growing number of people are learning basic category theory.In order to really learn this material, a formal teacher or a professor would be best. Encourage your local university math department to offer a course in Category Theory for the Sciences. I can recommend this in good faith, because I went to special efforts to make this book available for free online. An old version of the book exists on the math arXiv, and a new MIT Press-edited version exists in HTML form on their website (see URLs below). That said, the print version, available here on Amazon and elsewhere, is much easier to read, if you want to get serious and you can afford it.This book contains about 300 exercises and solutions. For those who wish to teach a course in the subject, there are 193 additional exercises and solutions behind a professors-only wall on the MIT Press website (see URL below). You simply have to request access.To everyone: I hope you enjoy the book, and get a lot out of it!Old version: arxiv.org/abs/1302.6946HTML version: mitpress.mit.edu/books/category-theory-sciences-- David Spivak, mathematician in Description of Category Theory for the Sciences on Amazon.com
Why write a new textbook on Category Theory, when we already have Mac Lane’s Categories for the Working Mathematician? Simply put, because Mac Lane’s book is for the working (and aspiring) mathematician. What is needed now, after 30 years of spreading into various other disciplines and places in the curriculum, is a book for everyone else. --Steve Awody, mathematician on page iv of Category Theory (Oxford Logic Guides, #52). (Oxford University Press, 2nd Edition, 2010)
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