Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I believe I have written a post earlier about names in Science. I am prompted to write again by a particularly irritating phenomenon in Category Theory. It seems that names are being introduced for vague concepts and used as ideological weapons.
Three examples annoy me in particular: "evil" and "categorification" and "(infinity,n)-categories".

None of these notions has a precise meaning. All have strong and as yet unjustified associations. The second has certainly already occurred in the formal literature and probably also the third. They are used continually in blogs and the categories mailing list. I am unable to join a discussion in which these words are used.

I forgot to mention another word: "morally".

All these words might be used casually in conversation but have no place in the serious literature.

The act of making names does not mean that the names have meaning but it does allow one to produce books with titles such as
"Towards Higher Categories"
or articles such as
"A Prehistory of n-Categorical Physics".

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home