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Working paper

The unreasonable power of the lifting property in elementary mathematics

math.CT. arxiv. arxiv, 2017
 We illustrate the generative power of the lifting property (orthogonality of morphisms in a category) as means of defining natural elementary mathematical concepts by giving a number of examples in various categories, in particular showing that many standard elementary notions of abstract topology can be defined by applying the lifting property to simple morphisms of finite topological spaces. Examples in topology include the notions of: compact, discrete, connected, and totally disconnected spaces, dense image, induced topology, and separation axioms. Examples in algebra include: finite groups being nilpotent, solvable, torsion-free, p-groups, and prime-to-p groups; injective and projective modules; injective, surjective, and split homomorphisms. We include some speculations on the wider significance of this.