An important and fundamental axiom in set theory sometimes called Zermelo's axiom of choice. It was formulated by Zermelo in 1904 and states that, given any set of mutually disjoint nonempty sets, there exists at least one set that contains exactly one element in common with each of the nonempty ...

learn more… | top users | synonyms

125
votes
15answers
24k views

Why worry about the axiom of choice?

As I understand it, it has been proven that the axiom of choice is independent of the other axioms of set theory. Yet I still see people fuss about whether or not theorem X depends on it, and I don't ...
35
votes
6answers
2k views

Is the non-triviality of the algebraic dual of an infinite-dimensional vector space equivalent to the axiom of choice?

If $V$ is given to be a vector space that is not finite-dimensional, it doesn't seem to be possible to exhibit an explicit non-zero linear functional on $V$ without further information about $V$. The ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Does ZFC prove the universe is linearly orderable?

It is consistent with ZFC that the universe is well-ordered, e.g. in $V=L$ where global choice holds. I also know that it is consistent that global choice fails (although I have no immediate example ...
84
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
42
votes
4answers
10k views

Non-Borel sets without axiom of choice

This is a simple doubt of mine about the basics of measure theory, which should be easy for the logicians to answer. The example I know of non Borel sets would be a Hamel basis, which needs axiom of ...
29
votes
0answers
1k views

Concerning the various proofs from the axiom of choice that R^3 admits of surprising geometrical decompositions into circles, skew lines and so on: can we prove in any instance that there are no Borel such decompositions? Or that AC is required?

This question follows up on a comment I made on Joseph O'Rourke's recent question, one of several questions here on mathoverflow concerning surprising geometric partitions of space using the axiom of ...
22
votes
3answers
2k views

Is the statement that every field has an algebraic closure known to be equivalent to the ultrafilter lemma?

The existence and uniqueness of algebraic closures is generally proven using Zorn's lemma. A quick Google search leads to a 1992 paper of Banaschewski, which I don't have access to, asserting that ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

Probabilities in a riddle involving axiom of choice

The question is about a modification of the following riddle (you can think about it before reading the answer if you like riddles, but that's not the point of my question): The Riddle: We assume ...
59
votes
16answers
15k 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 ...
37
votes
4answers
4k views

Does the fact that this vector space is not isomorphic to its double-dual require choice?

Let $V$ denote the vector space of sequences of real numbers that are eventually 0, and let $W$ denote the vector space of sequences of real numbers. Given $w \in W$ and $v \in V$, we can take their "...
32
votes
1answer
2k views

Dual Schroeder-Bernstein theorem

This question was motivated by the comments to Dual of Zorn's Lemma? Let's denote by the Dual Schroeder-Bernstein theorem (DSB) the statement For any sets $A$ and $B$, if there are ...
25
votes
2answers
790 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 ...
22
votes
1answer
2k views

If $V$ is a vector space with a basis. $W\subseteq V$ has to have a basis too?

Suppose $V$ is a vector space, we say that $\mathcal B$ is a basis for $V$ if: Every $v\in V$ can be written as a linear combination of elements of $\mathcal B$; If $\sum\alpha_i b_i = 0$, where $\...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

What is a Choice Principle, really?

This question is quite soft, and I apologize in advance if it borderline off-topic. When working in theories between ZF and ZFC the term "choice principle" is heard quite often. For example: $\quad$ ...
15
votes
1answer
872 views

Sizes of bases of vector spaces without the axiom of choice

Assuming the axiom of choice does not hold we have that there is a vector space without a basis. The situation can be, in some sense, worse. It is consistent that there are vector spaces that have two ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

What sort of large cardinal can $\aleph_1$ be without the axiom of choice?

Assuming the axiom of choice it is very easy to see that $\aleph_1$ is a regular Joe of a successor cardinal. It is not very large in any way except the fact that it is the first uncountable cardinal. ...
10
votes
2answers
507 views

Is sigma-additivity of Lebesgue measure deducible from ZF?

Is sigma-additivity (countable additivity) of Lebesgue measure (say on measurable subsets of the real line) deducible from the Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory (without the axiom of choice)? Note 1. ...
6
votes
1answer
192 views

Darboux property of non-atomic sigma-additive nonnegative measures equivalent to the AC?

A result commonly, and probably erroneously, attributed to W. Sierpiński is that every non-atomic, countably additive, nonnegative measure $\mu: \Sigma \to \bf R$, where $\Sigma$ is a sigma-algebra on ...
12
votes
5answers
902 views

Does k(X) have a k-basis for every set X, without AC?

This question is inspired by Pace Nielsen's recent question Does a left basis imply a right basis, without AC?. For any field $k$, the field $k(x)$ of rational functions in one variable has an ...
6
votes
0answers
258 views

Does Sageev's result need an inaccessible?

In 1981, building on work by Ellentuck in 1974, Sageev showed ("A model of ZF + there exists an inaccessible, in which the Dedekind cardinals constitute a natural non-standard model of arithmetic," ...
21
votes
2answers
2k views

Does Arzelà-Ascoli require choice?

Inspired by a recent Math.SE question entitled Where do we need the axiom of choice in Riemannian geometry?, I was thinking of the Arzelà--Ascoli theorem. Let's state a very simple version: ...
15
votes
11answers
4k views

Does the Axiom of Choice (or any other “optional” set theory axiom) have real-world consequences? [closed]

Or another way to put it: Could the axiom of choice, or any other set-theoretic axiom/formulation which we normally think of as undecidable, be somehow empirically testable? If you have a particular ...
36
votes
1answer
3k views

Does $2^X=2^Y\Rightarrow |X|=|Y|$ imply the axiom of choice?

The Generalized Continuum Hypothesis can be stated as $2^{\aleph_\alpha}=\aleph_{\alpha+1}$. We know that GCH implies AC (Jech, The Axiom of Choice, Theorem 9.1 p.133). In fact, a relatively weak ...
32
votes
6answers
2k views

Distinct well-orderings of the same set

An easy consequence of the Erdős-Dushnik-Miller theorem $\kappa\to(\kappa,\omega)^2$ is the following, that will denote $(*)$ (it appears as an exercise in Kunen's book, it was probably mentioned ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

Nilradicals without Zorn's lemma

It's well known that the nilradical of a commutative ring with identity $A$ is the intersection of all the prime ideals of $A$. Every proof I found (e.g. in the classical "Commutative Algebra" by ...
9
votes
5answers
3k 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, one can show that there exists a subset of the plane that intersects every line exactly twice (although it has yet to ...
24
votes
4answers
3k views

Are all sets totally ordered ?

The question is the title. Working in ZF, is it true that: for every nonempty set X, there exists a total order on X ? If it is false, do we have an example of a nonempty set that has no total ...
30
votes
2answers
1k views

On the difference between two concepts of even cardinalities: Is there a model of ZF set theory in which every infinite set can be split into pairs, but not every infinite set can be cut in half?

An interesting question has arisen over at this math.stackexchange question about two concepts of even in the context of infinite cardinalities, which are equivalent under the axiom of choice, but ...
21
votes
2answers
1k views

Axiom of Choice: Ultrafilter vs. Vitali set

It is well known that from a free (non-principal) ultrafilter on $\omega$ one can define a non-measurable set of reals. The older example of a non-measurable set is the Vitali set, a set of ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

The Continuum Hypothesis and Countable Unions

I recently edited an answer of mine on math.SE which discussed the implication of the two assertions: $AH(0)$ which is $2^{\aleph_0}=\aleph_1$, and $CH$ which says that if $A\subseteq 2^{\omega}$ ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

Half Cantor-Bernstein Without Choice

I had a discussion with one of my teachers the other day, which boiled to the following question: Assume ZF. Let $A,B$ be sets such that there exist $f\colon A\to B$ which is injective and $g\...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

What are the known implications of “There exists a Reinhardt cardinal” in the theory “ZF + j”?

This is, alas, in large part a series of questions on unpublished work of Hugh Woodin; it's also quite frivolous if Reinhardt cardinals turn out inconsistent. Definitions: Call $\kappa$ an $I-1(...
14
votes
0answers
389 views

The axiom $I_0$ in the absence of $AC$

It is well-known that if $AC$ holds and if $j: L(V_{\lambda+1}) \to L(V_{\lambda+1})$ is a non-trivial elementary embedding with $crit(j) < \lambda,$ then $\lambda$ has countable cofinality (and in ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

Forcing over models without the axiom of choice

In the vast majority of papers forcing is always developed over ZFC. Not surprisingly too, since infintary combinatorial principles are often used to prove results based on properties such as chain ...
11
votes
1answer
3k views

Are there any non-linear solutions of Cauchy's equation ($f(x+y)=f(x)+f(y)$) without assuming the Axiom of Choice?

Let $f: \mathbb{R} \rightarrow \mathbb{R}$ be s.t. $f(x+y) = f(x) + f(y), \ \forall x, y$ It is quite obvious that this implies $f(cx)=cx$ for all $c \in \mathbb{Z}$ and even further: $\forall c \in ...
8
votes
0answers
571 views

Full conditional probabilities and versions of AC?

A probability is a finitely additive measure on a boolean algebra with total measure $1$. A function $P:\scr B \times (\scr B - \{ 0 \})$ is a full conditional probability on $\scr B$ (for a boolean ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

Compactness of the Hilbert cube without the Axiom of Choice

I am just curious: is there a published proof of the compactness of the Hilbert cube that does not use the Axiom of Choice, or is it well known?
10
votes
1answer
880 views

Can an infinite number of mathematicians guess the number in a box with only one error?

In this question the following observation was made: Consider a sequence of boxes numbered 0, 1, ... each containing one real number. The real number cannot be seen unless the box is opened. Define ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Existence of prime ideals and Axiom of Choice.

One of the must obvious equivalences of Axiom of Choice is the converse of Krull Theorem. Bernhard Banaschewski in the Article titled by A New Proof that “Krull implies Zorn” showed a very simple ...
16
votes
2answers
757 views

Haar measures in Solovay's model

Haar measure is a measure on locally compact abelian groups which is invariants to translations. For example, the Lebesgue measure on the reals is such measure. It can be shown without the use of the ...
14
votes
1answer
473 views

Does Con(ZF + Reinhardt) really imply Con(ZFC + I0)?

The question is: if I assert in ZF that there exists a Reinhardt cardinal, do I really get a theory of higher consistency strength than when I assert in ZFC that there exists an I0 cardinal (the ...
12
votes
1answer
503 views

Without choice, can every homomorphism from a profinite group to a finite group be continuous?

In ZFC, some homomorphisms from profinite groups to finite groups are discontinuous. For instance, see the examples in this question. However, all three constructions given use consequences of the ...
7
votes
2answers
898 views

Can iterating countable unions give every set? (ZF)

Does ZF prove that there exists a set S such that S is not in the closure of {{s} : s in S} under at-most-countable unions?
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Compact Hausdorff spaces without isolated points in ZF

S is uncountable := |$\mathbb{N}$| < |S| S is noncountable := |S| $\not\leq |\mathbb{N}|$ (X,$T$) is a nice space := (X,$T$) is a compact Hausdorff space without isolated points Does [ ZF / ...
6
votes
1answer
461 views

Strictly order preserving maps into the integers

If $P$ and $P'$ are partial orders, a strictly order preserving map from $P$ to $P'$ is an $f:P\to P'$ satisfying that $x\lt y$ implies $f(x)\lt f(y)$ for all $x,y\in P$. An interval in $P$ is a set ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

What axioms are stronger than the Axiom of choice?

What other axioms in set theory are stronger than AC ? I mean what are those axioms that will imply AC ?
12
votes
1answer
547 views

Can there be a global linear ordering of the universe without a global well-ordering of the universe?

This question arose in the answers to Asaf Karagila's question Does ZFC prove that the universe is linearly orderable?. The answer there was that one can have a ZFC model with no global linear ...
10
votes
4answers
730 views

On surjections, idempotence and axiom of choice

The following assertion is trivial in ZFC, or even in much weaker theories. Is it also true in ZF? (I couldn't find it in the Consequences site so far.) If $A$ is an infinite set such that $A$ ...
9
votes
1answer
321 views

Can $\mathbb{R}$ be partitioned into dedekind-finite sets?

Assuming $ZF$ itself is consistent, it is consistent that there are sets $D$ which are infinite but cannot be placed in bijection with any of their proper subsets; such sets are called "strictly ...
9
votes
1answer
309 views

Cardinals without choice: interpolation (reference wanted)

Is there a published reference for this ZF theorem? Let $m,n\in\mathbb{N}$. If $a_1,\dots,a_m$ and $b_1,\dots,b_n$ are cardinals such that $a_i\le b_j$ for all $i$ and $j$, then there is a cardinal $...