# Questions tagged [axioms]

For questions on axioms, mathematical statements that are accepted as being true, usually without controversy.

1,127 questions
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### Can you explain the “Axiom of choice” in simple terms?

As I'm sure many of you do, I read the XKCD webcomic regularly. The most recent one involves a joke about the Axiom of Choice, which I didn't get. I went to Wikipedia to see what the Axiom of Choice ...
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### 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?
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### 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 "...
7answers
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### Where are the axioms?

It is said that our current basis for mathematics are the ZFC-axioms. Question: Where are these axioms in our mathematics? When do we use them? I have now studied math for a year, and have yet to ...
9answers
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### 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 ...
9answers
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### Has there ever been an application of dividing by $0$?

Regarding the expression $a/0$, according to Wikipedia: In ordinary arithmetic, the expression has no meaning, as there is no number which, multiplied by $0$, gives $a$ (assuming $a\not= 0$), and ...
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### Where is axiom of regularity actually used?

Where is axiom of regularity actually used? Why is it important? Are there some proofs, which are substantially simpler thanks to this axiom? This question was to some extent provoked by Dan ...
4answers
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### Meaning of the word “axiom”

One usually describes an axiom to be a proposition regarded as self-evidently true without proof. Thus, axioms are propositions we assume to be true and we use them in an axiomatic theory as premises ...
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### What's so special about the group axioms?

I've only just begun studying group theory (up to Lagrange) following on from vector spaces and I am still finding them almost frustratingly arbitrary. I'm not sure what exactly it is about the ...
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### Proofs given in undergrad degree that need Continuum hypothesis?

Or alternative you need to assume CH is false. I know several proofs that use axiom of choice. Heine Borel theorem is the best example I can think off. Zorns lemma is heavily used in the non ...
1answer
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### Can we prove the existence of $A\cup B$ without the union axiom?

If $A$ and $B$ are sets, then $A\cup B$ is defined as follows: $$A\cup B:=\{x: x\in A \, \, \,\text{ or } \, \, \, x\in B\}.$$ In ZFC, $A\cup B$ exists because $\bigcup\{A,B\}$ exists by union axiom, ...
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### 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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### What are disasters with Axiom of Determinacy?

It is well-known that Axiom of Choice has several consequences which might be viewed as counter-intuitive or undesirable. For example, existence of non-measurable sets or Banach-Tarski Paradox. H. ...
11answers
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### What is an axiom in layman's terms? [closed]

I tried to explain to my kids what is an axiom in very nontechnical terminology (also known as layman's term) but I could not find anything that they could relate to easily. Do anyone have a good ...
8answers
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### Zero vector of a vector space

I know that every vector space needs to contain a zero vector. But all the vector spaces I've seen have the zero vector actually being zero (e.g. $\mathbf{0}=\langle0,0,\ldots,0\rangle$). Can't the "...
6answers
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### Do we have to prove how parentheses work in the Peano axioms?

One thing that has bothered me so far while learning about the Peano axioms is that the use of parentheses just comes out of nowhere and we automatically assume they are true in how they work. For ...
3answers
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### The existence of the empty set is an axiom of ZFC or not?

I found in the Wolfram MathWorld page of the Axiom of the Empty Set that this is one of the Zermelo-Fraenkel Axioms, however on the page about these ZFC Axioms I read that it is an axiom that can be ...
6answers
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### Why hasn't GCH become a standard axiom of ZFC?

I've never seen a text that includes GCH in the ZFC axioms. I presume this means that GCH has not achieved widespread acceptance. This seems surprising to me, given that: The cardinal numbers ...
2answers
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### Non-constructive axiom of infinity

Looking at the ZFC axioms (in the Wikipedia version), the axiom of infinity stands out because it contains an extremely specific construction. This seems rather unelegant to me, therefore I've thought ...
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### 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.
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### Multiplication by One

Throughout school we are taught that when something is multiplied by 1, it equals itself. But as I am learning about higher level mathematics, I am understanding that not everything is as black and ...
6answers
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### How to demystify the axioms of propositional logic?

How might I go about getting some intuition on the typical axiom schemes given for propositional logic? They seem rather mysterious at first glance. For example, these are taken from: http://en....
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### Which axioms of ZFC or PA are known to not be derivable from the others?

Which, if any, axioms of ZFC are known to not be derivable from the other axioms? Which, if any, axioms of PA are known to not be derivable from the other axioms?
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### Which statements are equivalent to the parallel postulate?

I would like to have a long-ish list of statements that are equivalent to the parallel postulate. If a line segment intersects two straight lines forming two interior angles on the same side that ...