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Does category theory provide a framework for mathematical structuralism?
 PHILOSOPHIA MATHEMATICA
, 2003
"... Category theory and topos theory have been seen as providing a structuralist framework for mathematics autonomous vis à vis set theory. It is argued here that these theories require a background logic of relations and substantive assumptions addressing mathematical existence of categories themselves ..."
Abstract

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Category theory and topos theory have been seen as providing a structuralist framework for mathematics autonomous vis à vis set theory. It is argued here that these theories require a background logic of relations and substantive assumptions addressing mathematical existence of categories themselves. We propose a synthesis of Bell’s “manytopoi” view and modalstructuralism. Surprisingly, a combination of mereology and plural quantification suffices to describe hypothetical large domains, recovering the Grothendieck method of universes. Both topos theory and set theory can be carried out relative to such domains; puzzles about “large categories ” and “proper classes ” are handled in a