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6
votes
5answers
2k views

Subset of the plane that intersects every line exactly twice

In a comment to this question, Tim Gowers remarked that using the axiom of choice, once can show that there exists a subset of the plane that intersects every line exactly twice (although it has yet ...
3
votes
2answers
723 views

Is it still impossible to partition the plane into Jordan curves without choice?

It is an easy exercise to show that the Euclidean plane cannot be partitioned into round circles (note however that it is possible to do so for $\mathbb{R}^3$). It seems almost obvious that it is not ...
12
votes
2answers
722 views

Ultrafilters vs Well-orderings

This question was actually asked by John Stillwell in a comment to an answer to this question. I thought I would advertise it as a separate question since no one has yet answered and I am also ...
41
votes
15answers
10k views

Most 'unintuitive' application of the Axiom of Choice?

It is well-known that the axiom of choice is equivalent to many other assumptions, such as the well-ordering principle, Tychonoff's theorem, and the fact that every vector space has a basis. Even ...
6
votes
2answers
461 views

Choice function for Borel sets?

Let's say we want to define a choice function for certain particular subsets $S \subset2^{\mathbb{R}}$, i.e. we want a function $c:S \rightarrow \mathbb{R}$ such that $c(X)\in X$ for every $X\in S$. ...
2
votes
5answers
1k views

Decidability of the Axiom of Choice

Everything that I read regarding Set Theory states that the Axiom of Choice is independent and undecidable within the context of Zermelo-Frankel Set Theory. My question is this: Is there any ...
1
vote
2answers
622 views

Axiom of Choice and Order Types

A beginner's question: We know: "Since order-equivalence is an equivalence relation, it partitions the class of all sets into equivalence classes." (from Wikipedia) This holds since every set can be ...
56
votes
3answers
5k views

Does every non-empty set admit a group structure (in ZF)?

It is easy to see that in ZFC, any non-empty set $S$ admits a group structure: for finite $S$ identify $S$ with a cyclic group, and for infinite $S$, the set of finite subsets of $S$ with the binary ...
2
votes
4answers
690 views

Set theories that do require the existence of urelements?

I am looking for an axiomatic set theory that not only admits the existence of urelements/atoms (via two-sortedness or an additional unary predicate) but requires it, e.g. by an axiom like "for each ...
20
votes
2answers
614 views

How much choice is needed to show that formally real fields can be ordered?

Background: a field is formally real if -1 is not a sum of squares of elements in that field. An ordering on a field is a linear ordering which is (in exactly the sense that you would guess if you ...
2
votes
6answers
971 views

Splitting lemma under assumption of the axiom of choice

The splitting lemma says: Given a short exact sequence with maps $q$ and $r$: $0 \rightarrow A \overset{q}{\rightarrow} B \overset{r}{\rightarrow} C \rightarrow 0$ then the following are ...
10
votes
5answers
862 views

Where are some interesting places where the axiom of choice crops up in category theory?

The two that come to mind are splitting epics in Set and taking the Skel of a category. Surely there are lots of other interesting (and maybe upsetting) places where this comes up.