5
votes
7answers
233 views

What is the right interpretation of the axiom of extensionality

A set $a$ can be called extensional if it has the following propery: $$\forall b\left[\forall x\left[x\in b\iff x\in a\right]\Rightarrow a=b\right]$$ Based on this the axiom of extensionality can be ...
9
votes
1answer
138 views

When the mathematical community consider the inclusion of a new axiom?.

At first I was thinking about the axiom of choice, but let's keep it general. What motivates the inclusion of new axioms (or change the ones we already have in an already defined axiomatic theory?. It ...
1
vote
1answer
148 views

Explain mathematical practice and axiomatization to non-mathematicians

I am asked to give a talk about (a) mathematical practice, (b) axiomatization, (c) Gödel's theorems and (d) possible antimechanist arguments based on the incompleteness theorems (as mentioned in P ...
10
votes
6answers
258 views

Axiomatic Foundations

I am trying to deduce how mathematicians decide on what axioms to use and why not other axioms, I mean surely there is an infinite amount of available axioms. What I am trying to get at is surely if ...
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
201 views

Is all mathematics based on the concept that $1+1=2$?

Thought about this recently, and was a bit stuck. Is all mathematics based on the concept that $1+1=2$? For example, if $1+1\ne2$, then all arithmetic won't work, right?
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?
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 ...
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 ...