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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2answers
5k views

Prove that the set of all algebraic numbers is countable

A complex number $z$ is said to be algebraic if there are integers $a_0, ..., a_n$, not all zero, such that $a_0z^n+a_1z^{n-1}+...+a_{n-1}z+a_n=0$. Prove that the set of all algebraic numbers is ...
10
votes
6answers
246 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 ...
9
votes
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 = ...
9
votes
5answers
926 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 ...
9
votes
8answers
3k views

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 ...
9
votes
3answers
710 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
1k 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 ?
9
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4answers
215 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 $\emptyset$.
9
votes
5answers
572 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
609 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\} = ...
9
votes
7answers
905 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 = ...
9
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
435 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
321 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
6k views

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 $B$ ...
9
votes
5answers
4k views

Example of set which contains itself

I am trying to understand Russells's paradox How can a set contain itself? Can you show example of set which is not a set of all sets and it contains itself.
9
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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 ...
9
votes
2answers
325 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? ...
9
votes
2answers
514 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?
9
votes
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, ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Showing any countable, dense, linear ordering is isomorphic to a subset of $\mathbb{Q}$

I'm trying to knock out a few of the later exercises from Enderton's Elements of Set Theory. This problem is #17, found on page 227. A partial ordering $R$ is said to be dense iff whenever $xRz$, ...
9
votes
3answers
306 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 ?
9
votes
4answers
249 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
432 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 ...
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4answers
1k views

Is the fact that there are more irrational numbers than rational numbers useful?

Although it is known that the cardinality of the set of irrational numbers is greater than the cardinality of the set of rational numbers, is there any usefulness/applications of this fact outside of ...
9
votes
3answers
324 views

With Choice, is any linearly ordered set well-ordered if no subset has order type $\omega^*$?

I've been fumbling around with order types and ordinals these past few days. I read about partial, total, and well-ordered structures, and I'm curious to see if a linearly ordered set has no subset ...
9
votes
2answers
140 views

Can we expand numbers on the left to produce irrational numbers?

I have seen examples of irrational numbers that are expanded on the right, after the decimal point: e.g. $\pi = 3.14159265...$ But can we expand numbers on the left side as well? e.g. Is ...
9
votes
8answers
266 views

Examples of “transfer via bijection”

On some occasions I have seen the following situation: We want find out whether a set of a given cardinality $\varkappa$ has some property P. If this property is invariant under bijective maps, then ...
9
votes
2answers
603 views

Can a surjection and injection exist but not a bijection? [duplicate]

If I there exists an injection $\phi: S_1 \to S_2$ and a surjection $\tau: S_1 \to S_2$, does there necessarily exist a bijection between sets $S_1$ and $S_2$? I'd like this to be true, but I don't ...
9
votes
1answer
800 views

What is the name of the $\in$ symbol and where does it come from?

It looks like a lower-case epsilon, but the Wikipedia page on epsilon states that they are not the same. Does this symbol have a typographic identification outside of mathematics? Where did the ...
9
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6answers
2k views

Improving my understanding of Cantor's Diagonal Argument

I studied Cantor's Diagonal Argument in school years ago and it's always bothered me (as I'm sure it does many others). In my head I have two counter-arguments to Cantor's Diagonal Argument. I'm not ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Show $S = f^{-1}(f(S))$ for all subsets $S$ iff $f$ is injective

Let $f: A \rightarrow B$ be a function. How can we show that for all subsets $S$ of $A$, $S \subseteq f^{-1}(f(S))$? I think this is a pretty simple problem but I'm new to this so I'm confused. Also, ...
9
votes
3answers
266 views

Intersection of two 'huge' sets in the plane

Consider two sets on the plane $A=\mathbb{Q}\times \mathbb{R}$ and $B=\mathbb{R}\times \mathbb{Q}$. We know that $A\cap B=\mathbb{Q}\times \mathbb{Q}\neq\emptyset$. What about the general cases? That ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

limit inferior and superior for sets vs real numbers

I am looking for an intuitive explanation of $\liminf$ and $\limsup$ for sequence of sets and how it corresponds to $\liminf$ and $\limsup$ for sets of real numbers. I researched online but cannot ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

Bijection between an open and a closed interval

Recently, I answered to this problem: Given $a<b\in \mathbb{R}$, find explicitly a bijection $f(x)$ from $]a,b[$ to $[a,b]$. using an "iterative construction" (see below the rule). My ...
9
votes
3answers
268 views

Why is this proof of $\mathbb{N}\times\mathbb{N}$ being countable not formal?

My copy of Introduction to Real Analysis: Bartle and Sherbert gives: Theorem: The set $\mathbb{N}\times\mathbb{N}$ is countable. Informal Proof: Recall that $\mathbb{N}\times\mathbb{N}$ ...
9
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3answers
265 views

Question about members in sets

Let $A_1,A_2,...,A_n$ be sets with $k$ members in $A_i$ for every $1\le i\le n$. Suppose that the $A_i$ satisfy: 1) $|A_i\cap A_j| = 1$ for all $i\ne j$, 2) $A_1\cap A_2\cdots\cap A_n =\emptyset$. ...
9
votes
1answer
120 views

Functions that satisfy $f(x+y)=f(x)f(y)$ and $f(1)=e$

My real analysis professor mentioned in passing that there exist functions $f:\mathbb{R}\rightarrow\mathbb{R}$ that satisfy all of the following conditions for all $a,b \in \mathbb{R}$: $$f(1)=e$$ ...
9
votes
2answers
91 views

How should one think about results that depend on AC?

I just encountered this: "(Theorem of A. H. Stone) Every metric space is paracompact... Existing proofs of this require the axiom of choice... It has been shown that neither ZF theory nor ZF ...
9
votes
2answers
148 views

Question from 'How to Prove It'

Below is the question from the book mentioned above: Suppose $f : A \rightarrow B$ and $R$ is an equivalence relation on $A$. We will say that $f$ is compatible with $R$ if $∀x \in A\forall y ∈ ...
9
votes
2answers
77 views

Is $\mathbb{Z}= \{\dots -3, -2, -1, 0 ,1 ,2 , 3, \dots \}$ countable?

Question: Is $\mathbb{Z}= \{\dots, -3, -2, -1, 0 ,1 ,2 , 3, \dots \}$ countable? My attemp so far: Let us create the following one-to-one correspondence between $\mathbb{Z}$ and ...
9
votes
1answer
107 views

Are injections harder to find than surjections?

Given two finite sets $A$ and $B$ with $|A|<|B|$ There are more functions from $B$ to $A$ than from $A$ to $B$ except when $|A|=1$ or $|A|=2,|B|=3,4$. See here for proof. It is also true there are ...
9
votes
0answers
122 views

Analogue of the term 'summand' for unions and intersections.

If we have a sum $\sum\limits_{i=1}^na_i$, we call the terms $a_i$ summands. In fact, in the cases of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, we have a large vocabulary to describe the ...
8
votes
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 ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

how do we assume there is infinity?

Definition of infinite: A set is infinite iff it is equivalent to one of its proper subsets. We know that our universe doesn't contain infinite number of elements (including subatomic particles), so ...
8
votes
4answers
423 views

Is it correct to say that $\mathbb{R}$ has fewer elements than $\mathbb{C}$ if both are infinite?

My math teacher said that. I disagreed, but he said that I was wrong. But I'm not convinced - is it really right? Please notice that I'm not talking about $\mathbb{R}$ $⊂$ $\mathbb{C}$, but ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

The largest number system

If my number set construction memory doesn't fail me (I'll edit if errors are pointed out), we start out with Peano's axioms to get to $\mathbb{N}$, and in the need of an additive inverse for its ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

Is the empty set a power set?

I have some home work with problems such as... Determine whether each of these sets is the power set of a set: {∅, {a}} ∅ So yes 1 is the power set of {a}. But what about 2? Since power sets ...
8
votes
6answers
419 views

Why should $|2^\mathbb{N}|>|\mathbb{N}^2|$ be true?

I've been thinking a bit about infinite things lately, and this question I had wondered about came back to me. One of the classic expository demonstrations of Cantor's work is the two equally ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

Understanding equivalence class, equivalence relation, partition

Im having difficulty grasping a couple of set theory concepts, specifically concepts dealing with relations. Here are the ones I'm having trouble with and their definitions. 1) The collection of ...