Which questions does Category Theory help us answer?
Another chapter in my attempt to help break the ‘spell’ of the category theoretical ‘ontologicisation’ of our world.
This may seem to many as a purely academic question, but we all need to realise that all of what we consider a modern way of thinking rests upon ‘mental technologies’ such as Category Theory.
Academics are literally taking the ‘heart’ out of how our world is being defined!
If we don’t pay attention, humanity will continue losing its way.
Category theory is a wonderful and powerful tool; nevertheless category theory, with all of its utility, is purely ontological. It can masterfully answer questions such as ‘Who?’, ‘What?’, and ‘How?’.
However; it is regretfully inadequate to form a comprehensive representation of knowledge, for it lacks expression of epistemological value, which are the very reasons for is use. Epistemology is about answering the questions of ‘Why?’, ‘What does it mean?’, ‘What is my purpose?’,…
Answers to questions of this kind are implicitly supplied by us during our consumption of the utility afforded by category theory. We often are so beguiled by this power of categorical expression that we don’t realise that is we ourselves who bring the ‘missing elements’ to what it offers as an expression of knowledge.
It does a wonderful job with exteriority (ontology), but cannot sufficiently describe nor comprehensively access interiority (epistemology). Therefore, it has limited metaphysical value with respect to philosophy in general.
Philosophies of mind, of language, or of learning are not comprehensive using only category theoretical tools.
Categorical structures are highly portable, but they can describe/express only part of what is there. There are structures, dynamics, and resonance that the ontology and functionalism in category theory completely turns a blind eye to.
More general than category theory is knowledge representation. It includes and surpasses category theory in many areas, both in scope and depth, but in particular: knowledge representation includes not just the ontological aspects of what we know, it goes further to describe the epistemological as well.
The qualities of Truth, Goodness, Beauty, Clarity,… can be defined and identified within a knowledge representation if the representation is not restricted to ontology. When category theory is used for the purpose of defining qualia, the objects must first be ontologised and functionally reduced. Trying to grasp them with tools restricted to category theory (or even semiotics) is like grasping into thin air.
Category theory, although very powerful, is no match for the challenge of a complete representation of knowledge. Category theory will tell you how to tie your shoes, but it can’t tell you why you are motivated to do so.
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