Category theory is an area of study in mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...
that examines in an abstract
Abstraction is a process by which higher concepts are derived from the usage and classification of literal concepts, first principles, or other methods....
way the properties of particular mathematical concepts, by formalising them as collections of objects and arrows (also called morphism
In mathematics, a morphism is an abstraction derived from structure-preserving mappings between two mathematical structures. The notion of morphism recurs in much of contemporary mathematics...
s, although this term also has a specific, non category-theoretical sense), where these collections satisfy certain basic conditions. Many significant areas of mathematics can be formalised as categories, and the use of category theory allows many intricate and subtle mathematical results in these fields to be stated, and proved, in a much simpler way than without the use of categories.
The most accessible example of a category is the category of sets
Category of sets
In the mathematical field of category theory, the category of sets, denoted as Set, is the category whose objects are sets. The arrows or morphisms between sets A and B are all functions from A to B...
, where the objects are sets and the arrows are functions from one set to another.