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91
votes
15answers
17k 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 ...
21
votes
2answers
2k views

Similarities between Post's Problem and Cohen's Forcing

Remark: I have since learned that G.H. Moore addresses this question in the third reference listed at the end of this post, beginning on p. 157 in which he cites a letter from Kreisel to Gödel dated ...
60
votes
9answers
16k views

solving f(f(x))=g(x)

This question is of course inspired by the question How to solve f(f(x))=cosx and Joel David Hamkins' answer, which somehow gives a formal trick for solving equations of the form $f(f(x))=g(x)$ on a ...
38
votes
2answers
12k views

Is the analysis as taught in universities in fact the analysis of definable numbers?

Ten years ago when I studied in the university I had no idea about definable numbers, but I came to this concept myself. My thoughts were as follows: All numbers are divided into two classes: those ...
11
votes
1answer
426 views

Proof-Theoretic Ordinal of ZFC or Consistent ZFC Extensions?

Let the proof theoretic ordinal $\alpha$ of a theory $T$ be the least recursive ordinal such that $T$ does not prove that $\alpha$ is well-founded. This ordinal is intended to quantify in some sense ...
31
votes
7answers
5k views

Arguments against large cardinals

I started to learn about large cardinals a while ago, and I read that the existence, and even the consistency of the existence of an inaccessible cardinal, i.e. a limit cardinal which is additionally ...
71
votes
9answers
11k views

Solutions to the Continuum Hypothesis

Related MO questions: What is the general opinion on the Generalized Continuum Hypothesis? Completion of ZFC ) Background The Continuum Hypothesis (CH) posed by Cantor in 1890 asserts that $ ...
46
votes
2answers
3k views

Is every sigma-algebra the Borel algebra of a topology?

This question arises from the excellent question posed on math.SE by Salvo Tringali, namely, Correspondence between Borel algebras and topology. Since the question was not answered there after some ...
30
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 ...
26
votes
0answers
946 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 ...
27
votes
3answers
2k views

Even XOR Odd Infinities?

Modular Arithmetic (MA) has the same axioms as first order Peano Arithmetic (PA) except $\forall x (Sx \ne 0)$ is replaced with $\exists x(Sx = 0)$. ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

Pi1-sentence independent of ZF, ZF+Con(ZF), ZF+Con(ZF)+Con(ZF+Con(ZF)), etc.?

Let ZF1 = ZF, ZFk+1 = ZF + the assumption that ZF1,...,ZFk are consistent, ZFω = ZF + the assumption that ZFk is consistent for every positive integer k, ... and similarly define ZFα ...
17
votes
2answers
746 views

If ZFC has a transitive model, does it have one of arbitrary size?

It is known that the consistency strength of $\sf ZFC+\rm Con(\sf ZFC)$ is greater than that of $\sf ZFC$ itself, but still weaker than asserting that $\sf ZFC$ has a transitive model. Let us denote ...
9
votes
1answer
508 views

Resembling the Levy Collapse

Suppose $\kappa$ is a weakly compact cardinal. Is there a $\kappa$-c.c. forcing $\mathbb{P}$ such that $\mathbb{P} \subseteq V_\kappa$ and $\Vdash_{\mathbb{P}} \kappa = \aleph_1$, where $\mathbb{P}$ ...
6
votes
2answers
580 views

Is there one binary operation foundational for set theory?

The membership relationship "$\epsilon$" is foundational for set theory, in the sense that the axioms of any set theory are formulated in the language of "$\epsilon$". Naturally, the question arises ...
10
votes
2answers
240 views

Sets that are not $\infty$-Borel

I have seen a few techinques for proving that certain sets of real numbers are $\infty$-Borel (definition) but it just occurred to me that I don't know of any way to prove that a set of real numbers ...
120
votes
26answers
14k views

What are some reasonable-sounding statements that are independent of ZFC?

Every now and then, somebody will tell me about a question. When I start thinking about it, they say, "actually, it's undecidable in ZFC." For example, suppose A is an abelian group such that every ...
57
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
40
votes
2answers
4k views

A question about ordinal definable real numbers

If ZFC (Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory with the Axiom of Choice) is consistent, does it remain consistent when the following statement is added to it as a new axiom? "There exists a denumerably ...
54
votes
16answers
6k views

Proofs of the uncountability of the reals.

Recently, I learnt in my analysis class the proof of the uncountability of the reals via the Nested Interval Theorem. At first, I was excited to see a variant proof (as it did not use the diagonal ...
29
votes
4answers
7k 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 ...
26
votes
5answers
4k views

Completion of ZFC

I attended a talk given by W. Hugh Woodin regarding the Ultimate L axiom and I wanted to verify my current understanding of what the search for this axiom means. I find it to be a fascinating topic ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Large cardinal axioms and Grothendieck universes

A cardinal $\lambda$ is weakly inaccessible, iff a. it is regular (i.e. a set of cardinality $\lambda$ can't be represented as a union of sets of cardinality $<\lambda$ indexed by a set of ...
26
votes
2answers
2k views

What interesting/nontrivial results in Algebraic geometry require the existence of universes?

Brian Conrad indicated a while ago that many of the results proven in AG using universes can be proven without them by being very careful (link). I'm wondering if there are any results in AG that ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there a computable model of ZFC?

Background Assuming ZFC is consistent, then by downward Löwenheim–Skolem, there is a countable model (M,$\in$) of ZFC. Since the universe M is countable, we may as well think of it as actually being ...
27
votes
3answers
792 views

Is the fixed point property for posets preserved by products?

Recall that a partially ordered set (poset) $P$ has the fixed point property (FPP) if any order preserving function $f:P\longrightarrow P$ has a fixed point. Theorem. Suppose $P$ and $Q$ are posets ...
27
votes
1answer
844 views

Is there a computable ordinal encoding the proof strength of ZF? Is it knowable?

In comments on Quora (see, for example, here, here, here), Ron Maimon has repeatedly expressed the strong opinion that Hilbert's program was not killed by Gödel's results in the way typically ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

What would be some major consequences of the inconsistency of ZFC?

I was happily surfing the arXiv, when I was jolted by the following paper: Inconsistency of the Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory with the axiom of choice and its effects on the computational complexity by ...
8
votes
2answers
822 views

Is it possible for countably closed forcing to collapse $\aleph_2$ to $\aleph_1$ without collapsing the continuum?

Suppose the continuum is larger than $\aleph_2$. Does there exist a countably closed notion of forcing that collapses $\aleph_2$ to $\aleph_1$, but does not collapse the continuum to $\aleph_1$? ...
22
votes
4answers
2k views

What axioms are used to prove Godel's Incompleteness Theorems?

I understand Godel's Incompleteness Theorems to be statements about effectively generated formal systems, which basically makes them theorems about algorithms. This is cool, because despite being ...
14
votes
2answers
740 views

Questions about $\aleph_1-$closed forcing notions

"Foreman`s maximality principle" states that every non-trivial forcing notion either adds a real or collapses some cardinals. This principle has many consequences including: 1) $GCH$ fails ...
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: $\quad$ ...
11
votes
3answers
981 views

On statements independent of ZFC + V=L

Let $V=L$ denote the axiom of constructibility. Are there any interesting examples of set theoretic statements which are independent of $ZFC + V=L$? And how do we construct such independence proofs? ...
13
votes
1answer
402 views

Unpublished works of Woodin on SCH and Radin forcing

There are many unpublished results of Hugh Woodin on ''singular cardinals hypothesis'' and '' Radin forcing''. Some of his results are published later by others, but it seems that there are still many ...
6
votes
2answers
652 views

How to construct a continuous finite additive measure on the natural numbers

I want to find some condition to construct a continuous finitely additive measure on the natural numbers, i.e. $f:P(\mathbb{N})\rightarrow [0,1]$ such that $f(\{n\})=0$, and $f$ is an additive ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

A set that can be covered by arbitrarily small intervals

Let $X$ be a subset of the real line and $S=\{s_i\}$ an infinite sequence of positive numbers. Let me say that $X$ is $S$-small if there is a collection $\{I_i\}$ of intervals such that the length of ...
15
votes
1answer
902 views

Gödel's Constructible Universe in Infinitary Logics (A Possible Approach to HOD Problem)

Gödel's constructible universe ($L$) is defined using definable power set operator in first order logic ($\mathcal{L}_{\omega ,\omega}$). One can produce such a universe in infinitary logics in ...
13
votes
1answer
690 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Kuratowski's definition of ordered pairs

Among several possible definitions of ordered pairs - see below - I find Kuratowski's the least compelling: its membership graph (2) has one node more than necessary (compared to (1)), it is not as ...
9
votes
3answers
787 views

How elementary can we go?

It is a theorem of A. Levy, if $\kappa$ is an inaccessible cardinal, then $V_\kappa\prec_{\Sigma_1} V$ namely $V_\kappa$ is an elementary submodel when considering only $\Sigma_1$ sentences. One ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Definition of Function

What is authoritative canonical formal definition of function? For example, According to Wolfram MathWorld, $$isafun_1(f)\;\leftrightarrow\; \forall a\in f\;(\exists x\exists y \;\langle x,y\rangle ...
7
votes
1answer
184 views

Is there a forcing closure?

The main theorem of forcing says that for any c.t.m of $ZFC$ like $M$ and for all partial order $\mathbb{P}$ and $\mathbb{P}$-generic $G$ over $M$, there is a c.t.m of $ZFC$, like $N$ such that $N$ is ...
7
votes
2answers
416 views

What can the degrees of constructibility be?

If $r, s\in\mathbb{R}$, we say $r$ is constructible relative to $s$ - and write $r\le_cs$ - if $r\in L[s]$. Modding out by the induced equivalence relation $\equiv_c$, we get a partial order, the ...
4
votes
3answers
223 views

Approximation of infinite set in generic extension

Suppose $M$ is a c.t.m and suppose $P$ is $Fn(I,2)$ where $I$ is infinite. Now suppose $G$ is $P$-generic, and $A \in M[G]$ is infinite set. Is it guaranteed that the exist $B \in M$ such that $B ...
4
votes
2answers
413 views

Mutually generics

Given posets $P,Q\in M$, I would like to know under what circumstances there are mutually generic filters $G\subseteq P$ and $H\subseteq Q$ (generic over $M$). Also, what are the characterizations of ...
10
votes
2answers
545 views

What are Moschovakis cardinals?

The question is exactly that of the title: what are Moschovakis cardinals? Background. In a recent answer to the question, "Are there examples of statements that have been proven whose consistency ...
6
votes
0answers
199 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," ...
5
votes
3answers
713 views

Why isn't there more interest in “large powerset axioms”?

By a large powerset axiom, let us mean informally an axiom that says that for some cardinal numbers $\kappa$, we have that $2^\kappa$ is somehow "large" or "difficult to access from below." For ...
5
votes
0answers
397 views

The status of 'the consistency of NF relative to ZF'

One of the responses to my Mathoverflow question No. 122658 hinted that a proof (or the outline of a proof) of the consistency of NF relative to ZF was on the horizon and was to be presented at a ...
45
votes
15answers
11k 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 ...