Categorical Generalization and Physical Structuralism

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Teh, Nicholas; Lal, Raymond
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preprint description
Category theory has become central to certain aspects of theoretical physics. \cite{Bain2011} has recently argued that this has significance for ontic structural realism. We argue against this claim. In so doing, we uncover two pervasive forms of category-theoretic generalization. We call these `generalization by duality' and `generalization by categorifying physical processes'. We describe in detail how these arise, and explain their significance using detailed examples. We show that their significance is two-fold: the articulation of high-level physical concepts, and the generation of new models.