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The biequivalence of locally cartesian closed categories and Martin-Löf type theories


Seely's paper Locally cartesian closed categories and type theory (Seely 1984) contains a well-known result in categorical type theory: that the category of locally cartesian closed categories is equivalent to the category of Martin-Löf type theories with Π, Σ and extensional identity types. However, Seely's proof relies on the problematic assumption that substitution in types can be interpreted by pullbacks. Here we prove a corrected version of Seely's theorem: that the Bénabou–Hofmann interpretation of Martin-Löf type theory in locally cartesian closed categories yields a biequivalence of 2-categories. To facilitate the technical development, we employ categories with families as a substitute for syntactic Martin-Löf type theories. As a second result, we prove that if we remove Π-types, the resulting categories with families with only Σ and extensional identity types are biequivalent to left exact categories.

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Mathematical Structures in Computer Science
  • ISSN: 0960-1295
  • EISSN: 1469-8072
  • URL: /core/journals/mathematical-structures-in-computer-science
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