For questions on axioms, mathematical statements that are accepted as being true, usually without controversy.

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21
votes
6answers
1k views

When does the set enter set theory?

I wonder about the foundations of set theory and my question can be stated in some related forms: If we base Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory on first order logic, does that mean first order logic is not ...
64
votes
8answers
18k views

Can you explain the “Axiom of choice” in simple terms?

As I'm sure many of you do, I read the XKCD webcomic regularly. The most recent one involves a joke about the Axiom of Choice, which I didn't get. I went to Wikipedia to see what the Axiom of ...
16
votes
2answers
949 views

Where is axiom of regularity actually used?

Where is axiom of regularity actually used? Why is it important? Are there some proofs, which are substantially simpler thanks to this axiom? This question was to some extent provoked by Dan ...
7
votes
2answers
617 views

How does (ZFC-Infinity+“There is no infinite set”) compare with PA?

How does (ZFC-Infinity+"There is no infinite set") compare with (first order) PA? Intuitively, neither theory should be more powerful than the other.
16
votes
1answer
1k views

Proofs given in undergrad degree that need Continuum hypothesis?

Or alternative you need to assume CH is false. I know several proofs that use axiom of choice. Heine Borel theorem is the best example I can think off. Zorns lemma is heavily used in the non ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

The existence of the empty set is an axiom of ZFC or not?

I found in the Wolfram MathWorld page of the Axiom of the Empty Set that this is one of the Zermelo-Fraenkel Axioms, however on the page about these ZFC Axioms I read that it is an axiom that can be ...
26
votes
6answers
2k views

What are natural numbers?

What are the natural numbers? Is it a valid question at all? My understanding is that a set satisfying Peano axioms is called "the natural numbers" and from that one builds integers, rational ...
8
votes
2answers
861 views

What are the consequences if Axiom of Infinity is negated?

What mathematics can be built with standard ZFC with Axiom of Infinity replaced with its negation? Can the analysis be built? Is there special name for "ZFC without Infinity" set theory? I also ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

How do the separation axioms follow from the replacement axioms?

It has come to my attention that the pairing axiom and the separation axiom schema are rarely listed since they follows from the replacement axioms. I see how this works for the pairing axiom, since ...
5
votes
1answer
182 views

When do surjections split in ZF? Two surjections imply bijection?

We have that the Axiom of Choice is equivalent to the principle that every surjection has a right inverse. However, without the Axiom of Choice we can determine for some $X$ that $X\succeq Y\implies ...
28
votes
6answers
2k views

Is $\{0\}$ a field?

Consider the set $F$ consisting of the single element $I$. Define addition and multiplication such that $I+I=I$ and $I \times I=I$ . This ring satisfies the field axioms: Closure under addition. ...
2
votes
2answers
906 views

what is the relationship between ZFC and first-order logic?

In Wikipedia, it says that ZFC is a one-sorted theory in first-order logic. However, I was not really able to comprehend the later parts that seem to elaborate on that point. Can anyone explain the ...
-1
votes
2answers
153 views

Do Kolmogorov's axioms really need only disjointness rather than pairwise disjointness?

According to 1 2, the third Kolmogorov axiom is for disjoint sets $(A_n)_{n \in \mathbb{N}}$ $P(\cup_n A_n) = \sum_n P(A_n)$ Is that really disjoint rather than pairwise disjoint? If we ...
63
votes
10answers
14k views

How is a system of axioms different from a system of beliefs?

Other ways to put it: Is there any faith required in the adoption of a system of axioms? How is a given system of axioms accepted or rejected if not based on blind faith?
57
votes
8answers
5k views

Does mathematics require axioms?

I just read this whole article: http://web.maths.unsw.edu.au/~norman/papers/SetTheory.pdf which is also discussed over here: Infinite sets don't exist!? However, the paragraph which I found most ...
20
votes
6answers
2k views

What is the modern axiomatization of (Euclidean) plane geometry?

I have heard anecdotally that Euclid's Elements was an unsatisfactory development of geometry, because it was not rigorous, and that this spurred other people (including Hilbert) to create their own ...
15
votes
1answer
782 views

Can we prove the existence of $A\cup B$ without the union axiom?

If $A$ and $B$ are sets, then $A\cup B$ is defined as follows: $$A\cup B:=\{x: x\in A \, \, \,\text{ or } \, \, \, x\in B\}.$$ In ZFC, $A\cup B$ exists because $\bigcup\{A,B\}$ exists by union axiom, ...
7
votes
9answers
906 views

Motivating implications of the axiom of choice?

What are some motivating consequences of the axiom of choice (or its omission)? I know that weak forms of choice are sometimes required for interesting results like Banach-Tarski; what are some ...
3
votes
2answers
367 views

Axiom schema and the definition of natural numbers

An axiom schema is used to generate the axioms, which inductively define the natrual numbers using the empty set and the successor function $S$. I don't understand why you have to define this set as ...
3
votes
3answers
360 views

Equality of positive rational numbers.

I am reading the second article Rational Numbers of the book "A Treatise on Advanced Calculus" by Philip Franklin. I have mainly 3 questions regarding this article. I am writing all these $3$ ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

A first order sentence such that the finite Spectrum of that sentence is the prime numbers

The finite spectrum of a theory $T$ is the set of natural numbers such that there exists a model of that size. That is $Fs(T):= \{n \in \mathbb{N} | \exists \mathcal{M}\models T : |\mathcal{M}| =n\}$ ...
4
votes
1answer
461 views

Can it be shown that ZFC has statements which cannot be proven to be independent, but are?

I am familiar with the concept that a statement can be proven indepent such as in the case of the continuum hypothesis where both ZFC+CH and ZFC+(CH is false) are both proven consistent, but I would ...
5
votes
1answer
225 views

A weaker Axiom of Infinity?

As I understand, the Axiom of Infinity in ZFC theory gives us an infinite set from which the natural numbers can be extracted. (See "Axiom of Infinity" at ...
1
vote
1answer
84 views

How should I interpret $y-x$ in this context?

I asked a related question here. I am meticulously working my way trough Mathematical Analysis by Apostol. I am reading about axioms, specifically axiom 4: Given any 2 real numbers $x$ and $y$, ...
58
votes
6answers
8k views

In what sense are math axioms true?

Say I am explaining to a kid, $A +B$ is the same as $B+A$ for natural numbers. The kid asks: why? Well, it's an axiom. It's called commutativity (which is not even true for most groups). How do I ...
31
votes
4answers
2k views

Axiomatic definition of sin and cos?

I look for possiblity to define sin/cos through algebraic relations without involving power series, integrals, differential equation and geometric intuition. Is it possible to define sin and cos ...
12
votes
3answers
996 views

What's so special about the group axioms?

I've only just begun studying group theory (up to Lagrange) following on from vector spaces and I am still finding them almost frustratingly arbitrary. I'm not sure what exactly it is about the ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Proving the pairing axiom from the rest of ZF

In ZF, the pairing axiom states that for every $x,y$ there exists the set $\{x, y\}$. Wikipedia also tells us we can dispense this axiom: This axiom is part of Z, but is redundant in ZF because it ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

How does the axiom of regularity forbid self containing sets?

The axiom of regularity basically says that a set must be disjoint from at least one element. I have heard this disproves self containing sets. I see how it could prevent $A=\{A\}$, but it would seem ...
8
votes
2answers
241 views

Is $\mathrm{ZFC}^E$ outright inconsistent?

From $\mathrm{ZFC},$ define a new theory $\mathrm{ZFC}^E$ by adjoining a constant symbol $E$ together with axioms to the effect that: $E$ is countable and transitive $(E,\in)$ is an elementarily ...
8
votes
5answers
670 views

A confusion about Axiom of Choice and existence of maximal ideals.

The proof of the theorem of statement that every ring has a maximal ideal uses zorn's lemma or the axiom of choice.Now, the defintion of ring as well as the definition of maximal ideal don't depend on ...
7
votes
3answers
345 views

Axiom of extensionality in ZF - pointless?

In every textbook on ZF set theory I come across the Axiom of extensionality, which basically says that if two sets have the same elements, then those two sets are equal: $$\forall x \forall y ...
14
votes
2answers
363 views

Non-constructive axiom of infinity

Looking at the ZFC axioms (in the Wikipedia version), the axiom of infinity stands out because it contains an extremely specific construction. This seems rather unelegant to me, therefore I've thought ...
10
votes
5answers
671 views

Axiomatic approach to polynomials?

I only know the "constructive" definition of $\mathbb K [x]$, via the space of finite sequences in $\mathbb K$. It essentially tells a polynomial is its coefficients. Is there a way to define ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

which axiom(s) are behind the Pythagorean Theorem

There are many elementary proofs for the Pythagorean Theorem, but no matter they use areas, similarities, even algebraic proofs, it is not straightforward to tell why it is true tracing back to the ...
5
votes
2answers
143 views

How can I define $\mathbb{N}$ if I postulate existence of a Dedekind-infinite set rather than existence of an inductive set?

Suppose in the axioms of $\sf ZF$ we replaced the Axiom of infinity There exists an inductive set. with the Axiom of Dedekind-infinite set There exists a set equipollent with its proper ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

Proof for SSS Congruence?

I'm hoping that someone can provide a method for deducing the commonly known SSS congruence postulate? The postulate states If the three sides of one triangle are pair-wise congruent to the three ...
4
votes
3answers
818 views

A basic doubt on axiom of foundation of Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory

I have read in a book that the "axiom of foundation prevents anomalies such as a set being an element of itself". Now, axiom of foundation says that there exist an element in every set which is ...
4
votes
1answer
379 views

System with infinite number of axioms

Assume we have a set of axioms $A_0$. There exists a statement that can be formulated with these axioms that cannot be proven to be true with this system. Assume we give such a statement axiomatic ...
5
votes
2answers
119 views

Is my proof of the uniqueness of $0$ correct?

I am working my way through "Mathematical Analysis" by Apostol. What I am attempting to prove is that if there exist $q_{1}$ and $q_{2}$ such that $x + q_1 = x$ and $y+q_2=y$, then $q_1=q_2$ ...
5
votes
4answers
304 views

Axiomatization of $\mathbb{Z}$

Though I've seen several cool axiomizations of $\mathbb{R}$, I've never seen any at all for $\mathbb{Z}$. My initial guess was that $\mathbb{Z}$ would be a ordered ring which is "weakly" well-ordered ...
4
votes
1answer
77 views

The concept of negative numbers in the $4^{th}$ field axiom

I just started working my way trough "Mathematical Analysis", $2^{nd}$ Edition by Apostol. I am reading every detail very carefully to try to get a rigorous understanding. The $4^{th}$ axiom in that ...
2
votes
6answers
264 views

How do we define arc length?

In trying to write a nice proof of the derivatives of $\sin(x)$ and $\cos(x)$, I encountered a serious problem, namely that I have never seen a proper definition of the notion of arc length. Based on ...
2
votes
1answer
345 views

Prove$ L^2$ inner product satisfies positivity

There is a proof in my textbook where I am a little bit unsure about a small detail. It would be great if someone could clarify it for me. We are supposed to prove positivity of the $L^2$ inner ...
1
vote
2answers
81 views

Proof using only field axioms

Prove if $x, y ∈ R$ and $xy > 0$ then either $x > 0$ and $y > 0$, or, $x < 0$ and $y < 0$ using only the field axioms. These include the Field axioms for addition, multiplication, ...
1
vote
2answers
105 views

¿Can you help me with axiom of regularity? [duplicate]

I understand that if we define a set such that $A=\{A\}$ we have then a contradiction because of regularity axiom, thus, a set can not be a member of itself. My question is; how can it be so, if I ...
0
votes
2answers
55 views

Choice function without AC in special case [duplicate]

I read the Jech, Set theory, and saw following proposition. (☆) If S is a finite family of nonempty sets, existence of choice function of S can be proved without axiom of choice. I tried to prove ...
0
votes
2answers
927 views

Proof: Zero is less than one

How can one show/prove that $0<1$? $1$ is not actually defined to be greater than zero, but I think it can be proven. I already know that the real numbers are an ordered field and I am familiar ...
0
votes
1answer
71 views

Whitehead's axioms of projective geometry and a vector space over a field

According to Wikipedia(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Projective_geometry#Axioms_of_projective_geometry), the axioms of projective geometry due to A. N. Whitehead are: G1: Every line contains at least ...
-1
votes
1answer
45 views

Axiom of infinity: What is an inductive set?

This Axiom states that there exists an inductive set. But, what is the definition of an inductive set?