This tag is for elementary questions on set theory, spanning topics usually found in introductory courses in set theory, in addition to review sections of graduate textbooks in the same field. Topics include intersections and unions, de Morgan's laws, Venn diagrams, relations, functions, ...

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Is $\{\emptyset\}$ a subset of $\{\{\emptyset\}\}$?

$\{\emptyset\}$ is a set containing the empty set. Is $\{\emptyset\}$ a subset of $\{\{\emptyset\}\}$? My hypothesis is yes by looking at the form of "the superset $\{\{\emptyset\}\}$" which contains ...
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2answers
2k views

Which symbol should be used for an empty set?

Currently, a discussion started on the German Wikipedia article for Empty Set (the German discussion), whether $\emptyset$ or $\varnothing$ should be used or is more common as a symbol for an empty ...
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5answers
2k views

Countable set having uncountably many infinite subsets

Can a countable set contain uncountably many infinite subsets such that the intersection of any two such distinct subsets is finite ?
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1answer
572 views

Why is CH true if it cannot be proved?

Continuum hypothesis (CH) states that there can be no set whose cardinality is strictly between that of integers and real numbers. Godel, 1940 and Paul Cohen,1963 showed that CH can neither be proved ...
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4answers
2k views

Is any relation which contains only one ordered pair transitive?

I need clarification. Let $A=\{1,2,3\}$ be a set and $R=\{(1,2)\}$ be a relation on $A$. Is it a Transitive relation? I am confused because some text books say $R$ is transitive if it contains only ...
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5answers
459 views

What is the canonical definition of an open set?

The definition of an open set that I see in most topology texts(like the ones found in Topology by Munkres and another w/ the same title by Hocking & Young, or Basic Topology by Armstrong) is that ...
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4answers
444 views

Looking for a problem where one could use a cardinality argument to find a solution.

I would like to find an exercise of the type: Find some $x$ in $A\setminus B$. Solution: since $A$ is uncountable and $B$ is countable such $x$ exists...
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3answers
251 views

Are the error terms of the partial sums of inclusion-exclusion unimodal?

I often teach inclusion-exclusion: $$|A ∪ B| = |A| + |B| − |A ∩ B|$$ by suggesting that $|A∩B|$ is a correction factor for $|A|+|B|$. Then I teach the three set version: $$|A∪B∪C| = |A| + |B| + |C| ...
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4answers
976 views

In Cantor's Diagonalization Argument, why are you allowed to assume you have a bijection from naturals to rationals but not from naturals to reals?

Firstly I'm not saying that I don't believe in Cantor's diagonalization arguments, I know that there is a deficiency in my knowledge so I'm asking this question to patch those gaps in my ...
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6answers
325 views

Why is “for all $x\in\varnothing$, $P(x)$” true, but “there exists $x\in\varnothing$ such that $P(x)$” false? [duplicate]

There exists an $X\in A$ such that $P(X)$. When $A$ is the empty set then this statement is false because there is nothing in $A$ that when plugged in for $X$, makes $P(X)$ come out True. However, ...
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5answers
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Is the void set (∅) a proper subset of every set ?

I am a bit confused about the concept of proper subsets,precisely whether to include one or both of the void set and the set itself. An extract from my module goes like this : Obviously,every set is ...
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3answers
657 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 ...
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2answers
981 views

Is there an empty set in the complement of an empty set?

Currently taking a logic class and trying to understand this. You have two set $A$ and $B$. Both sets are empty sets. Is set $A$ a subset of the complement of set $B$? Assume the context is the ...
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3answers
953 views

Cofinality and its Consequences

(1)In set theory, what is the purpose for defining the concept of cofinality?is it that important? (2)The concept of cofinality finally leads to 2 types of infinite cardinal, for which the first ...
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2answers
260 views

Characterization properties of number sets $\mathbb{N},\mathbb{ Z},\mathbb{Q},\mathbb{R},\mathbb{C}$

When people say that a structure is defined up to isomorphism means, accordingly, that they assume certain properties that make it completely determined under certain operations and relations. ...
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2answers
383 views

Why doesn't this work imply that there are countably many subsets of the naturals?

Cantor's theorem shows us that the power set of the natural numbers is uncountably infinite. But today (and before remembering Cantor's proof) I was trying to prove the incorrect version: that the ...
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5answers
2k views

What are some examples of classes that are not sets?

After reading about Russell's paradox, I see that the set of all sets does not exist, so instead it is called a class. What other commonly known classes exist that are not sets? I know the class of ...
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4answers
353 views

An uncountable linearly independent set

I've been taking a course in linear algebra and one of the first things we defined was linear independence. It made me wonder how big a linearly independent set can be, in particular whether we can ...
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2answers
642 views

Set theory puzzles - chess players and mathematicians

I'm looking at "Basic Set Theory" by A. Shen. The very first 2 problems are: 1) can the oldest mathematician among chess players and the oldest chess player among mathematicians be 2 different ...
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3answers
4k views

Bijection from $\mathbb R$ to $\mathbb {R^N}$

How does one create an explicit bijection from the reals to the set of all sequences of reals? I know how to make a bijection from $\mathbb R$ to $\mathbb {R \times R}$. I have an idea but I am not ...
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5answers
857 views

The simplest way of proving that $|\mathcal{P}(\mathbb{N})| = |\mathbb{R}| = c$

What is the simplest way of proving (to a non-mathematician) that the power set of the set of natural numbers has the same cardinality as the set of the real numbers, i.e. how to construct a bijection ...
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1answer
613 views

When is $x=\{ x\}$?

Inspired by this question: When/for which $x$ do we have $x=\{ x\}$ ?
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2answers
178 views

Bolzano-Weierstrass for sequences of sets

Let $\mathcal{A}_n,\,n\in\mathbb{N}$ be a sequence of subsets of, say, $\mathbb{R}$. Let $\limsup_{n\rightarrow\infty} \mathcal{A}_n = \{x:x\in\mathcal{A}_n\mbox{ for infinitely many } n\}$, and ...
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4answers
656 views

How does one get the formula for this bijection from $\mathbb{N}\times\mathbb{N}$ onto $\mathbb{N}$?

When showing that $\mathbb{N}\times\mathbb{N}$ is in bijection with $\mathbb{N}$, it seems standard to give a proof by picture that shows a way to systematically weave through all the points in ...
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1answer
11k views

Mathematical notation for the maximum of a set of function values

I have a question about the proper notation of the following (simplified) example: I want to express that I have a value alpha, which is the maximum of a set of n values. Each value in the set is the ...
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1answer
94 views

a totally ordered set with small well ordered set has to be small?

doing something quite different the following question came to me: 1)If you have a totally ordered set A such that all the well ordered subset are at most countable, is it true that A has at most the ...
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6answers
262 views

what is a function? please.

Axiom schema of replacement: Let the domain of the function $F$ be the set $A$. Then the range of $F$ (the values of $F(x)$ for all members $x$ of $A$) is also a set. — Tarski–Grothendieck ...
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14answers
2k views

Using set notation, define the set of even natural numbers between 100 and 500.

Using set notation, define the set of even natural numbers between 100 and 500. This is what I have so far: $P$ is even numbers so the set of natural numbers between 100 and 500 would be $$P = ...
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5answers
942 views

Contradictory definition in set theory book?

I'm using a book that defines $A\setminus B$ (apparently this is also written as $A-B$) as $\{x\mid x\in A,x\not\in B\}$, but then there was an exercise that asked to find $A\setminus A$. Wouldn't it ...
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8answers
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What is larger — the set of all positive even numbers, or the set of all positive integers?

We will call the set of all positive even numbers E and the set of all positive integers N. At first glance, it seems obvious ...
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3answers
2k views

Why is an empty function considered a function?

A function by definition is a set of ordered pairs, and also according the Kurastowski, an ordered pair $(x,y)$ is defined to be $$\{\{x\}, \{x,y\}\}.$$ Given $A\neq \varnothing$, and ...
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3answers
756 views

Is $\aleph_0^{\aleph_0}$ smaller than or equal to $2^{\aleph_0}$? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What's the cardinality of all sequences with coefficients in an infinite set? Is $\aleph_0^{\aleph_0}$ smaller than or equal to $2^{\aleph_0}$? I thought I saw this ...
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4answers
223 views

$\bigcup \emptyset$ is defined but $\bigcap \emptyset$ is not. Why?

Why does $\bigcup \emptyset = \emptyset$ but $\bigcap \emptyset$ is not defined? If I had to guess, I'd say it's also equal to $\emptyset$.
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5answers
626 views

If $\mathcal{P}(A)=\mathcal{P}(B)$, then $A=B$? [duplicate]

Prove, disprove, or give a counterexample: If $\mathcal{P}(A)=\mathcal{P}(B)$, then $A=B$. Assume $\mathcal{P}(A)=\mathcal{P}(B)$. Since we know $A \subseteq A$, we know $A \in ...
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5answers
655 views

Set {1,1} = Set {1}, origin of this convention

Is there any book that explicitly contain the convention that a representation of the set that contain repeated element is the same as the one without repeated elements? Like $\{1,1,2,3\} = ...
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7answers
2k views

Is an empty set equal to another empty set? [duplicate]

I have a definition that claims that two sets are equal A = B, if and only if: $\forall x ( x \in A \leftrightarrow x \in B)$ An empty set contains no elements. If I define the sets: A = ...
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2answers
917 views

countable group, uncountably many distinct subgroup?

I need to know whether the following statement is true or false? Every countable group $G$ has only countably many distinct subgroups. I have not gotten any counter example to disprove the statement ...
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8answers
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Prove that the union of countably many countable sets is countable.

I am doing some homework exercises and stumbled upon this question. I don't know where to start. Prove that the union of countably many countable sets is countable. Just reading it confuses me. ...
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4answers
334 views

Infinite sets and their Cardinality

(I am a 13 year old so when you answer please don't use things that are TOO hard even though I actually can understand quite complex stuff) I was studying Infinite sets and their cardinality (not in ...
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5answers
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How can one prove that the union of two finite sets is again finite, without the use of arithmetic?

The notion that the union of two finite sets is again finite is something I took as intuitively true for quite a while. A proof using arithmetic is relatively straight forward. Suppose $A$ and $B$ ...
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3answers
788 views

Uncountability of countable ordinals

According to Wikipedia, there are uncountably many countable ordinals. What is the easiest way to see this? If I construct ordinals in the standard way, $$1,\ 2,\ \ldots,\ \omega,\ \omega +1,\ \omega ...
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2answers
2k views

Cardinality of the infinite sets

Consider the following problem: Which of the following sets has the greatest cardinality? A. ${\mathbb R}$ B. The set of all functions from ${\mathbb Z}$ to ${\mathbb Z}$ C. The ...
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2answers
470 views

Is $\emptyset \in \emptyset$ or $\emptyset \subseteq \emptyset$?

Can someone give an argument, if possible using only the axioms of set theory, because I'm very weak there and have virtually no background, except the usual knowledge of the operation with sets one ...
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2answers
334 views

How many paths exist between two points in the plane?

Fix distinct $a,b \in \mathbb{R}^2$. In terms of cardinality (say, beth numbers), how many distinct continuous functions $f : [0,1] \rightarrow \mathbb{R}^2$ satisfying $f(0)=a, f(1)=b$ are there? ...
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7answers
266 views

Is $\mathbb{C}$ equal to $\mathbb{R}^2$?

Complex numbers are usually formally defined as pairs of real numbers. Although there are operations on $\mathbb{C}$, such as complex multiplication, which are not found in operations usually applied ...
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2answers
536 views

Are known transcendental numbers countable?

Do all known algorithms that generate infinitely many transcendental numbers like Gelfond-Schneider or Liouville only generate countably many? If uncountably many, is this set of measure zero?
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5answers
1k views

Definition of the Infinite Cartesian Product

(1) If $X$ and $Y$ are two sets, we define the Cartesian product $X \times Y$ as the set of ordered pairs $(x,y)$, such that $x \in X$ and $y \in Y$. (2) On the other hand [Folland, Real Analysis, ...
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3answers
313 views

A “Cantor-Schroder-Bernstein” theorem for partially-ordered-sets

If A and B are partially-ordered-sets, such that there are injective order-preserving maps from A to B and from B to A, is there necessarily an order-preserving bijection between A and B ?
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4answers
254 views

injection $\mathbb{N}\times\mathbb{N}\to\mathbb{N}$

Today a friend of mine told me a nice fact, but we couldn't prove it. The fact is that there is an injection $\mathbb{N}\times\mathbb{N}\to\mathbb{N}$ defined by the fomula $(m,n)\mapsto ...
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4answers
468 views

“The set of all true statements of first order logic”

In one of my lectures, the lecturer put a bunch of examples of sets on the board, stuff like the set of all humans, set of all well typed programs in some programming language, the set of all true ...