Why not always refer to a functions image, what is the point in specifying some super set of that image and then naming that super set the functions "codomain"? What does explicitly defining a set that contains more values for which your function does not even output add to the definition of a function.

  • $\begingroup$ Related to / somewhat of a duplicate of math.stackexchange.com/q/5480/148175, math.stackexchange.com/q/97390/148175, math.stackexchange.com/q/777563/148175 $\endgroup$
    – complexist
    May 29 '14 at 4:36
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    $\begingroup$ Pragmatically, if I don't know the precise range but I still want to give a generic description of the values of the function the concept of a codomain is useful. That said, there is much more in the links above... $\endgroup$ May 29 '14 at 4:44
  • $\begingroup$ It is a way of identifying surjectivity (a function that is onto)...it is equivalent that the range (image) and codomain are the same $\endgroup$
    – afedder
    May 29 '14 at 5:26
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    $\begingroup$ @afedder So we define the notion of a codomain, so we can define another notion of surjectivity. Why is that helpful? $\endgroup$
    – Ethan
    May 29 '14 at 5:46
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    $\begingroup$ Suppose I want to discuss the function $f:(-1,1)\to \mathbb{R}$ given by $f(x) = x^7 \sin x + e^{\cos x}.$ I may want to do various things like find its derivative or its roots. I can try to do these things without going to lengthy trouble of finding its precise image, which is really irrelevant to me. Finding the range can be tiresome, or extremely difficult. The point of giving the codomain is to give some information about the values, and so we have a precise idea of what type of objects we are dealing with. $\endgroup$ May 29 '14 at 7:43

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