# Project outline: Intro to the Universal Property

https://arbital.com/p/universal_property_outline

by Eric Rogstad Aug 17 2016 updated Dec 31 2016

Outline detailing all the work required for a proposed Arbital Project

[summary: Category theory is famously very difficult to understand, even for people with a relatively high level of mathematical maturity. Universal properties are perhaps the easiest important theme of category theory.

With this project, we want to produce an explanation that will clearly communicate this core concept in category theory, the universal property, to a wide audience of learners.]

Category theory is famously very difficult to understand, even for people with a relatively high level of mathematical maturity. Universal properties are perhaps the easiest important theme of category theory.

With this project, we want to produce an explanation that will clearly communicate this core concept in category theory, the universal property, to a wide audience of learners.

This page is an outline for the project, the below links are to pages within its scope.

1. The idea of not caring about things except up to isomorphism.
1. The idea that we can describe objects based entirely on how they interact with other objects.
2. Introduce the category of finite sets, describing the empty set, disjoint union and product
1. Show how the union and product can be described entirely by their universal properties, up to isomorphism.
2. Introduce a specific poset category: [ $\mathbb{N}$ with an arrow between $a$ and $b$ iff $a$ divides $b$]. (Not sure about this one - maybe it already requires knowing what a category is?)
3. Describe the least upper bound and greatest lower bounds in a poset; in particular, in $\mathbb{N}$ under the divisibility relation, we obtain the GCD and the LCM.
1. Describe the universal properties of the LUB and GLB; compare them with the union and coproduct.
2. Wrap up by [universal_property_in_the_wild explaining that this kind of property crops up all over the place].