Categorical orthodoxy has it that collections of ordinary mathematical structures such as groups, rings, or spaces, form categories (such as the category of groups); collections of 1-dimensional categorical structures, such as categories, monoidal categories, or categories with finite limits, form 2-categories; and collections of 2-dimensional categorical structures, such as 2-categories or bicategories, form 3-categories.We describe a useful way in which to regard bicategories as objects of a 2-category. This is a bit surprising both for technical and for conceptual reasons. The 2-cells of this 2-category are the crucial new ingredient; they are the icons of the title. These can be thought of as "the oplax natural transformations whose components are identities", but we shall also give a more elementary description. We describe some properties of these icons, and give applications to monoidal categories, to 2-nerves of bicategories, to 2-dimensional Lawvere theories, and to bundles of bicategories.
- Oplax natural transformation
- Pseudonatural transformation