Let X be CW complex. I'm trying to prove (using Zorn's lemma) that there is maximal contractible subcomplex. Problem is that I'm not able to show that increasing union of contractible subcomplexes has to be contractible itself.
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By various standard lemmas, a CW complex $X$ is contractible if and only if every map $u:S^{n1}\to X$ (for any $n>0$) can be extended over $B^n$. In this context $u(S^{n1})$ is compact and therefore (by another standard lemma) contained in some subcomplex with only finitely many cells. If $X$ is the union of some totally ordered family of subcomplexes $X_\alpha$, it follows that $u(S^{n1})\subseteq X_\alpha$ for some $\alpha$. This is enough to prove what you want. 

