What caused you to struggle when learning CT? - Category Theory

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Reed Mullanix

I'm working on developing a sort of pseudo-course on Category Theory, and was hoping to get some people's perspectives on why they bounced off Category Theory, or what topics/concepts made them burn out.

To start, on my 1st attempt I was reading CTFP, and got to the section on adjunctions and totally gave up for a few months. I was stuck thinking in HaskHask, and couldn't see the utility of the idea.

Fintan Halpenny

What I'd like to figure out is how to approach a domain problem and explore if it has a categorical representation

Pedro Minicz

Not really a difficulty, but when I started most of the material I looked at treated other objects in a categorical way. For example, I've heard about epimorphisms, monomorphisms, products, and coproducts in Set, as well as similar constructions on Grp, Ap, Top, etc. Of course, I heard about functors and natural transformations, but only after all that jazz. Recently, I've been reading material that treats categories themselves as mathematical objects. Thus, I been seeing a lot more functors, natural transformations, adjunctions, etc. I believe this difference may stem from the fact that before I was reading "CT for programmers" literature and now I am reading "CT for mathematicians" literature. Some cross pollination could be of great good: programmers could learn more CT for CT's sake stuff and mathematicians could see their constructions through a CT lens earlier (usually CT is taught after set theory/algebra/topology from what I've gathered).