In the ZF set theory ordinals are transitive sets which are well-ordered by $\in$. They are canonical representatives for well-orderings under order-isomorphism. In addition to the intriguing ordinal arithmetics, ordinals give a sturdy backbone to models of ZF and operate as a direct extension of ...

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21
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6answers
616 views

Embedding ordinals in $\mathbb{Q}$

All countable ordinals are embeddable in $\mathbb{Q}$. For "small" countable ordinals, it is simple to do this explicitly. $\omega$ is trivial, $\omega+1$ can be e.g. done as $\{\frac{n}{n+1}:n\in ...
20
votes
1answer
303 views

What are some good open problems about countable ordinals?

After reading some books about ordinals I had an impressions that area below $\omega_1$ is thoroughly studied and there is not much new research can be done in it. I hope my impression was wrong. ...
20
votes
3answers
652 views

Conflicting definitions of “continuity” of ordinal-valued functions on the ordinals

I've encountered the following definition in Kunen, Levy, and other places: A function $\mathbf{F}:\mathbf{ON}\to\mathbf{ON}$ is continuous iff for every limit ordinal $\lambda$, we have ...
18
votes
4answers
592 views

Intuition for $\omega^\omega$

I'm trying to understand the ordinal number $\omega^\omega$ and I'm having a hard time. I think I understand what $\omega^2$ is. It's what I would get if I took countably many copies of $\omega$ and ...
16
votes
5answers
1k views

Why study cardinals, ordinals and the like?

Why is the study of infinite cardinals, ordinals and the like so prevalent in set theory and logic? What's so interesting about infinite cardinals beyond $\aleph _0 $ and $\mathfrak{c} $? It seems ...
16
votes
2answers
339 views

Is $(\pmb{1} + \pmb{\eta})\cdot\pmb{\omega_1} = \pmb{1} + \pmb{\eta}\cdot\pmb{\omega_1}$?

$\pmb{\eta}$ - order type of $\mathbb{Q}$. $\pmb{1}$ - order type of a singleton set. $\pmb{\omega_0}$ - order type of $\mathbb{N}$. $\pmb{\omega_1}$ - order type of the first uncountable ordinal. ...
16
votes
1answer
235 views

When does ordinal addition/multiplication commute?

I'm looking at basic ordinal arithmetic at the moment, and I am aware that in general, $\alpha+\beta\neq\beta+\alpha$ and $\alpha.\beta\neq\beta.\alpha$ for ordinals $\alpha,\beta$. My question is: ...
15
votes
1answer
382 views

Is there an axiomatic approach to ordinal arithmetic?

I've always wondered, is there an axiomatic approach to the arithmetic of ordinal numbers? If so, I imagine it would be on par with set theory in terms of its proof-theoretic strength.
14
votes
3answers
389 views

How many positive numbers need to be added together to ensure that the sum is infinite?

The question in the title is naively stated, so let be make it more precise: Let $\sum_{n\in\alpha}a_n$ be an ordinal-indexed sequence of real numbers such that $a_n>0$ for each $n\in\alpha$, where ...
14
votes
2answers
241 views

The preorder of countable order types

Consider the set $\mathcal{O}$ of order types corresponding to all posets of cardinality at most $\aleph_0$. The set $\mathcal{O}$ is a preorder under embeddability of its elements (note that some ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

The cardinality of a countable union of countable sets, without the axiom of choice

One of my homework questions was to prove, from the axioms of ZF only, that a countable union of countable sets does not have cardinality $\aleph_2$. My solution shows that it does not have ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Countable compact spaces as ordinals

I heard at some point (without seeing a proof) that every countable, compact space $X$ is homeomorphic to a countable successor ordinal with the usual order topology. Is this true? Perhaps someone can ...
13
votes
1answer
363 views

How do you find the smallest of homeomorphic ordinals?

I am trying to get a better feel for the topology of ordinals and just received a great answer to this question where the Cantor-Bendixson rank and degree turn out to be a complete homeomorphism ...
10
votes
4answers
753 views

I want to know why $\omega \neq \omega+1$.

In Kunen's book, Set Theory,chapter I.7, he said: $1+\omega=\omega \neq \omega+1$. I want to know why $\omega \neq \omega+1$.
10
votes
3answers
219 views

How many epsilon numbers $<\omega_1$ are there?

An epsilon number is an ordinal $\epsilon$ such that $\epsilon=\omega^\epsilon.$ What is the cardinality of the set of all epsilon numbers less than $\omega_1$? I'm asking this because of a proof ...
10
votes
1answer
363 views

Linearly ordered sets “somewhat similar” to $\mathbb{Q}$

$\pmb{\eta}$ - order type of $\mathbb{Q}$. $\pmb{\eta} + \pmb{1}$ - order type of $\mathbb{Q}\cap(0, 1]$. $\pmb{\omega_1}$ - order type of the first uncountable ordinal. Let's say that a linear ...
10
votes
1answer
170 views

Is $\pmb{\eta}\cdot\pmb{\omega_1} = (\pmb{\eta} + \pmb{1})\cdot\pmb{\omega_1}$?

$\pmb{\eta}$ - order type of $\mathbb{Q}$. $\pmb{1}$ - order type of a singleton set. $\pmb{\omega_0}$ - order type of $\mathbb{N}$. $\pmb{\omega_1}$ - order type of the first uncountable ordinal. ...
10
votes
3answers
475 views

An order type $\tau$ equal to its power $\tau^n, n>2$

In this question we are concerned only with linear (aka total) order types. By a cardinality of an order type we understand a cardinality of an instance of this type, which obviously does not depend ...
9
votes
2answers
283 views

How many ordinals can we cram into $\mathbb{R}_+$, respecting order?

I've been pondering the following question. How can we measure the amount of "space" above an element $p$ in a partially ordered set $P$? One way would be to try to cram the elements of ...
9
votes
2answers
260 views

$\varepsilon$-number countability without choice

Let $\alpha\mapsto\varepsilon_\alpha$ be the enumeration of the $\varepsilon$-numbers--that is, those $\alpha$ such that $\omega^\alpha=\alpha$--by the ordinals. If we know that countable unions of ...
9
votes
3answers
743 views

Curious facts about ordinal numbers

I have some notes about curious facts about ordinal numbers, for example that their addition is not commutative, multiplication is not distributive from the right hand side and that the exponent rule ...
9
votes
1answer
551 views

Surreal numbers without the axiom of infinity

Let $ZF^\times$ denote the set of axioms of Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory without the axiom of infinity. The set $V_\omega$ of all hereditarily finite sets is a model of $ZF^\times$, and ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Simple example of uncountable ordinal

Can you make a simple example of an uncountable ordinal? With simple I mean that it is easy to prove that the ordinal is uncountable. I know that the set of all the countable ordinals is an ...
8
votes
3answers
682 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
885 views

Is the class of cardinals totally ordered?

In a Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleph_number#Aleph-one I encountered the following sentence: "If the axiom of choice (AC) is used, it can be proved that the class of cardinal ...
8
votes
2answers
166 views

Non-measurable subset of $\omega_1$

Consider $\omega_1$ equipped with the order topology. Then Borel subsets of $\omega_1$ are precisely those which contain a closed and unbounded set or the complement contains such a set. There must be ...
8
votes
4answers
287 views

Is there an element with no fixed point and of infinite order in $\operatorname{Sym}(X)$ for $X$ infinite?

Let $X$ be an infinite set. Let $\operatorname {Sym}(X)$ denote the group of all bijections from $X$ onto itself. I have been thinking about the existence of elements of infinite order in this group. ...
8
votes
4answers
130 views

Is $0^\omega=1$?

According to a definition of ordinal exponentiation defined in Kunen's Set Theory: An Introduction to Independence Proofs (pp. 26), we define $$\begin{align} \alpha^0&=1\\ ...
8
votes
2answers
316 views

Is $V$ under ZFC really a proper class?

Is $V$, the union of the von Neumann hierarchy, necessarily a proper class? Or is it only a proper class after you assume that it contains every set? (In that case, $V$ can't be a "set of all sets" ...
8
votes
1answer
414 views

Can any infinite ordinal be expressed as the sum of a limit ordinal and a finite ordinal?

I've been browsing through Jech's and Levy's texts on set theory, and the ideas of ordinals come up fairly quickly. The idea of a limit ordinal is introduced, which is an ordinal with no maximum ...
8
votes
1answer
152 views

Do there exist totally ordered sets with the 'distinct order type' property that are not well-ordered?

Define that the order type of an element $x$ in a totally ordered set $X$ is the order type of $\{w \in X\mid w < x\}$. Under this definition, distinct elements of a well-ordered set have distinct ...
8
votes
1answer
99 views

What classification of countable ordinals above $\omega_1^{CK}$ exists?

What classification of countable ordinals above the Church–Kleene ordinal $\omega_1^{CK}$ exists? Are there such things as $\omega_2^{CK}$, $\omega_{\omega_\omega^{CK}}^{CK}$ or ...
8
votes
2answers
219 views

Ordinal interpretation of Friedman's $n$?

I heard that Kruskal's tree theorem can be turned into a finite form that creates an extremely fast growing function because ordinals could be encoded into trees. On this wiki page it mentions that ...
8
votes
1answer
200 views

If $\alpha$ is an indecomposable ordinal, why $\Gamma(\alpha\times{\alpha})=\alpha$?

Greets This is from exercise 3.4 of Thomas Jech's "Set Theory", stated: "Show that $\Gamma(\alpha\times{\alpha})\leq{\omega^{\alpha}}$. Thus $\Gamma(\alpha\times{\alpha})=\alpha$ for all ...
8
votes
1answer
162 views

When the ordinal sum equals the Hessenberg (“natural”) sum

Let $\alpha_1 \geq \ldots \geq \alpha_n$ be ordinal numbers. I am interested in necessary and sufficient conditions for the ordinal sum $\alpha_1 + \ldots + \alpha_n$ to be equal to the Hessenberg ...
8
votes
1answer
158 views

what does it mean that constructible universe is definable from ordinals?

I know how constructible universe is created, but I also separatedly read that the universe is definable from ordinals - so I am wondering what it really means.
8
votes
1answer
235 views

Infinite combinatorial games

Hercules vs. Hydra: Recall the story where every time Hercules cuts of a head, two more heads grow instead. Now suppose the following: The hydra starts off with one head, but every time Hercules cuts ...
8
votes
1answer
256 views

Definable order types without infinity axiom.

Denote by $ZF^\times$ the theory of $ZF$ without the axiom of infinity. We know that $V_\omega$, the set of all hereditarily finite sets in a model of $ZF$, is a model of $ZF^\times$. We further know ...
7
votes
3answers
294 views

Ordinal exponentiation - $2^{\omega}=\omega$

This is my understanding of ordinal arithmetic - two ordinals are the same as one another if there is an order-preserving bijection between them. So for instance $$1+\omega = \omega$$ because if ...
7
votes
4answers
320 views

Supremum and ordinals

Question: Show that sup{$ \xi \dotplus 1 : \xi \in A $} is the least ordinal that is greater than each element of $A$. I tried to get a better feel for this by letting $A=3=${$0,1,2$}. Then I know ...
7
votes
3answers
269 views

How to prove the Milner-Rado Paradox?

For every ordinal $\alpha<\kappa^+$ there are sets $X_n\subset\alpha$ $(n\in\Bbb{N})$ such that $\alpha=\bigcup_n X_n$ and for each $n$ the order-type of $X_n$ is $\le\kappa^n$. [By ...
7
votes
3answers
193 views

Is there any countable ordinal number which has a member undefinable?

Let $Q\colon=\{\alpha \in Ord \mid \exists \beta \in \alpha(\beta \text{ is undefinable in } \langle\alpha,<\rangle )\}$ denote the set of all ordinal numbers which has an undefinable member. ...
7
votes
4answers
627 views

Simple (even toy) examples for uses of Ordinals?

I want to describe Ordinals using as much low-level mathematics as possible, but I need examples in order to explain the general idea. I want to show how certain mathematical objects are constructed ...
7
votes
1answer
678 views

Uncountable ordinals without power set axiom

Assume $M$ is a set, in which all axioms of $ZF - P + (V=L)$ hold. Does then $M$ believe that there exists an uncountable ordinal? I mean, why should the class of all countable ordinal numbers be a ...
7
votes
1answer
175 views

Do we get predicative ordinals above $\Gamma_0$ if we use hyperexponentiation?

I am trying to understand the Veblen hierarchy but I still find it confusing. The Feferman–Schütte ordinal, $\Gamma_0$, can be described as the set of all ordinals that can be written as finite ...
7
votes
2answers
211 views

Set of maximal chains in $\langle\mathcal{P}(\mathbb{N}),\subseteq\rangle$

Let $S$ be the set of all maximal chains in the poset $\langle$$\mathcal{P}$$($$\mathbb{N}$$),$$\subseteq$$\rangle$ partitioned into equivalence classes by their order types. How many different order ...
7
votes
1answer
184 views

Continuous surjective functions $\omega_1 \to \omega_1$.

I am looking for nontrivial examples of surjective continuous functions from $\omega_1$ onto $\omega_1$ (with both $\omega_1$'s in the order topology). What sorts of properties must these functions ...
7
votes
1answer
129 views

Why should the union of such a family of sets have cardinality $\aleph_1?$

Let $\mathcal A$ be a family of infinite countable sets which is linearly ordered by inclusion and such that $\bigcup\mathcal A$ is uncountable. I have to prove that $|\bigcup\mathcal A|=\aleph_1.$ I ...
7
votes
1answer
101 views

Order-preserving injections of ordinals into $[0,1]$

The usual "matchstick" representation of an ordinal number can be thought of as an order-preserving injection of that ordinal into the interval [0,1]. For example, here's a representation of ...
7
votes
2answers
200 views

Complexity of the set of computable ordinals

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analytical_hierarchy The set of all natural numbers which are indices of computable ordinals is a $\Pi^1_1$ set which is not $\Sigma^1_1$. However, "the ...