On the Semantics of Intensionality

  • G. A. KavvosEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10203)


In this paper we propose a categorical theory of intensionality. We first revisit the notion of intensionality, and discuss its relevance to logic and computer science. It turns out that 1-category theory is not the most appropriate vehicle for studying the interplay of extension and intension. We are thus led to consider the P-categories of Čubrić, Dybjer and Scott, which are categories only up to a partial equivalence relation (PER). In this setting, we introduce a new P-categorical construct, that of exposures. Exposures are very nearly functors, except that they do not preserve the PERs of the P-category. Inspired by the categorical semantics of modal logic, we begin to develop their theory. Our leading examples demonstrate that an exposure is an abstraction of well-behaved intensional devices, such as Gödel numberings. The outcome is a unifying framework in which classic results of Kleene, Gödel, Tarski and Rice find concise, clear formulations, and where each logical device or assumption involved in their proofs can be expressed in the same algebraic manner.



I would like to thank my doctoral supervisor, Samson Abramsky, for suggesting the topic of this paper, and for his help in understanding the issues around intensionality and intensional recursion.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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