Quotient category

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In mathematics, a quotient category is a category obtained from another one by identifying sets of morphisms. The notion is similar to that of a quotient group or quotient space, but in the categorical setting.


Let C be a category. A congruence relation R on C is given by: for each pair of objects X, Y in C, an equivalence relation RX,Y on Hom(X,Y), such that the equivalence relations respect composition of morphisms. That is, if

are related in Hom(X, Y) and

are related in Hom(Y, Z) then g1f1 and g2f2 are related in Hom(X, Z).

Given a congruence relation R on C we can define the quotient category C/R as the category whose objects are those of C and whose morphisms are equivalence classes of morphisms in C. That is,

Composition of morphisms in C/R is well-defined since R is a congruence relation.


There is a natural quotient functor from C to C/R which sends each morphism to its equivalence class. This functor is bijective on objects and surjective on Hom-sets (i.e. it is a full functor).


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