Inclusion map

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A is a subset of B, and B is a superset of A.

In mathematics, if A is a subset of B, then the inclusion map (also inclusion function, insertion,[1] or canonical injection) is the function ι that sends each element x of A to x, treated as an element of B:

A "hooked arrow" (U+21AA RIGHTWARDS ARROW WITH HOOK)[2] is sometimes used in place of the function arrow above to denote an inclusion map; thus:

(However, some authors use this hooked arrow for any embedding.)

This and other analogous injective functions[3] from substructures are sometimes called natural injections.

Given any morphism f between objects X and Y, if there is an inclusion map into the domain ι : AX, then one can form the restriction f ι of f. In many instances, one can also construct a canonical inclusion into the codomain RY known as the range of f.

Applications of inclusion maps[edit]

Inclusion maps tend to be homomorphisms of algebraic structures; thus, such inclusion maps are embeddings. More precisely, given a substructure closed under some operations, the inclusion map will be an embedding for tautological reasons. For example, for some binary operation , to require that

is simply to say that is consistently computed in the sub-structure and the large structure. The case of a unary operation is similar; but one should also look at nullary operations, which pick out a constant element. Here the point is that closure means such constants must already be given in the substructure.

Inclusion maps are seen in algebraic topology where if A is a strong deformation retract of X, the inclusion map yields an isomorphism between all homotopy groups (that is, it is a homotopy equivalence).

Inclusion maps in geometry come in different kinds: for example embeddings of submanifolds. Contravariant objects (which is to say, objects that have pullbacks; these are called covariant in an older and unrelated terminology) such as differential forms restrict to submanifolds, giving a mapping in the other direction. Another example, more sophisticated, is that of affine schemes, for which the inclusions


may be different morphisms, where R is a commutative ring and I is an ideal of R.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ MacLane, S.; Birkhoff, G. (1967). Algebra. Providence, RI: AMS Chelsea Publishing. p. 5. ISBN 0-8218-1646-2. Note that “insertion” is a function SU and "inclusion" a relation SU; every inclusion relation gives rise to an insertion function.
  2. ^ "Arrows – Unicode" (PDF). Unicode Consortium. Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  3. ^ Chevalley, C. (1956). Fundamental Concepts of Algebra. New York, NY: Academic Press. p. 1. ISBN 0-12-172050-0.