For questions on axioms, mathematical statements that are accepted as being true without a mathematical proof.

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5
votes
2answers
326 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.
13
votes
1answer
664 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
622 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
517 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
444 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 ...
40
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
20
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 ...
13
votes
1answer
384 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, ...
6
votes
9answers
648 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
303 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
498 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
623 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 $Fs(T):= \{n \in \mathbb{N} | \exists \mathcal{M}\models T : |\mathcal{M}| =n\}$ ...
40
votes
9answers
12k 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?
15
votes
5answers
698 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
447 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
569 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
154 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
378 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
504 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
334 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
159 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 ...
32
votes
7answers
2k 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 ...
48
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
530 views

What are the postulates that can be used to derive geometry?

What are the various sets of postulates that can used to derive Euclidean geometry? It might be nice to have several different approaches together for comparison purposes and for ready reference. It ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

What happens if we remove the requirement that $\langle R, + \rangle$ is abelian from the definition of a ring?

Ever since I learned the definition of a ring, I've wondered why the additive group is required to be abelian. What happens if we allow $\langle R, + \rangle$ to be nonabelian as well as $\langle R, ...
17
votes
5answers
559 views

Why hasn't GCH become a standard axiom of ZFC?

I've never seen a text that includes GCH in the ZFC axioms. I presume this means that GCH has not achieved widespread acceptance. This seems surprising to me, given that: The cardinal numbers ...
3
votes
1answer
426 views

Explain Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory in layman terms

What does Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory mean? According to Wikipedia, Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory is a set theory that is proposed to overcome issues in naive set theory. I really appreciate if ...
9
votes
3answers
292 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
152 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 $3$ ...
3
votes
1answer
168 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
205 views

Defining the integers and rationals

What axiomatic system is most commonly used by modern mathematicians to describe the properties of the integers and the rationals? Properties like $a+0=a$, $a*1=a$, $a+b=b+a$, Also given these ...
3
votes
3answers
150 views

An elementary question regarding the uniqueness of a set, viewed with different cardinality

Does the cardinality of sets, like for example the real numbers, depend on the fundamental axioms one is working with? If so, what does it mean to speak of such a set if it is not really one single ...
2
votes
2answers
140 views

Axioms for sets of numbers

What is the most common axiomatic system used by modern mathematicans for the properties of the integers, rationals, reals, and complex numbers? Or does one commonly use a single axiomatic system ...
1
vote
1answer
240 views

Do the proofes in set theory rely on the semantics of the formulas used in the axioms?

Motivation: The Axiom of separation $$\forall w_1,\ldots,w_n \, \forall A \, \exists B \, \forall x \, ( x \in B \Leftrightarrow [ x \in A \wedge \phi(x, w_1, \ldots, w_n, A) ] )$$ is used to ...
6
votes
3answers
147 views

Question Regarding the Axiom of Extensionality

Jech's text on Set Theory states the following: If X and Y have the same elements, then X = Y : ∀u(u ∈ X ↔ u ∈ Y ) → X = Y. The converse, namely, if X = Y then u ∈ X ↔ u ∈ Y, is an axiom ...
4
votes
3answers
274 views

Why is the postulate $1$ not equal to $0$ not superfluous? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Explanation for why $1\neq 0$ is explicitly mentioned in Chapter 1 of Spivak's Calculus for properties of numbers. I am self-studying the wonderful book, Elementary ...
3
votes
2answers
107 views

axioms of equality

Every text I've come across uses the Axiom of Extensionality to describe the fact that sets are equal iff they contain each other's elements. $$(\forall x)(\forall y)\bigl((\forall a)(a\in x \iff a\in ...
3
votes
2answers
181 views

Why is matrix multiplication defined a certain way? [duplicate]

Why is it that when multiplying a (1x3) by (3x1) matrix, you get a (1x1) matrix, but when multiplying a (3x1) matrix by a (1x3) matrix, you get a (3x3) matrix? Why is matrix multiplication defined ...
3
votes
2answers
645 views

What is the difference between an axiom and a postulate?

I here about axioms is set theory and postulates in geometry, but they seem like the same thing. Do the mean the same thing but then are used in different instances or what? Is one word more ...
2
votes
2answers
413 views

What are the primitive notions of real analysis?

My dad introduced my to primitive notions in geometry in high school. It's come back to haunt me as I study real analysis; I find myself wondering, Have we given this a formal definition? ...
1
vote
0answers
52 views

Using definitions instead of axioms.

Lets take (classical) first-order logic for granted, including an equality symbol and its associated axioms. Given all this, a rigorous work of mathematics will typically begin with a signature - ...
1
vote
1answer
108 views

What makes Tarski Grothendieck set theory non-empty?

I'm fighting with Grothendieck set theory for some time now. This is the framework for the automated proof checking system of Mizar and hence there is a formalized version of the axioms here too, and ...
1
vote
1answer
144 views

What should I be able to do with this chapter on Axiomatic Set Theory in order to check if I've learned it decently? [closed]

I've just read a chapter on axiomatic set theory, from Comprehensive Mathematics for Computer Scientists 1. It comes with basic notation on sets and some axioms: Axiom 1 (Axiom of Empty Set) Axiom 2 ...
1
vote
6answers
568 views

Is it possible to have a field without an additive identity?

If I drop the axiom that Zero is the identity of an addition what consequences does this entail? What do I need to change to my axiomatization? By definition it is not possible, but are there ...