Axiom

An axiom or postulate is a statement that is taken to be true, to serve as a premise or starting point for further reasoning and arguments. The word comes from the Greek axíōma (ἀξίωμα) 'that which is thought worthy or fit' or 'that which commends itself as evident.'[1][2]

The term has subtle differences in definition when used in the context of different fields of study. As defined in classic philosophy, an axiom is a statement that is so evident or well-established, that it is accepted without controversy or question.[3] As used in modern logic, an axiom is a premise or starting point for reasoning.[4]

As used in mathematics, the term axiom is used in two related but distinguishable senses: "logical axioms" and "non-logical axioms". Logical axioms are usually statements that are taken to be true within the system of logic they define (e.g., (A and B) implies A), often shown in symbolic form, while non-logical axioms (e.g., a + b = b + a) are actually substantive assertions about the elements of the domain of a specific mathematical theory (such as arithmetic). When used in the latter sense, "axiom", "postulate", and "assumption" may be used interchangeably. In general, a non-logical axiom is not a self-evident truth, but rather a formal logical expression used in deduction to build a mathematical theory. To axiomatize a system of knowledge is to show that its claims can be derived from a small, well-understood set of sentences (the axioms). There are typically multiple ways to axiomatize a given mathematical domain.

Any axiom is a statement that serves as a starting point from which other statements are logically derived. Whether it is meaningful (and, if so, what it means) for an axiom to be "true" is a subject of debate in the philosophy of mathematics.[5]

Etymology

The word axiom comes from the Greek word ἀξίωμα (axíōma), a verbal noun from the verb ἀξιόειν (axioein), meaning "to deem worthy", but also "to require", which in turn comes from ἄξιος (áxios), meaning "being in balance", and hence "having (the same) value (as)", "worthy", "proper". Among the ancient Greek philosophers an axiom was a claim which could be seen to be true without any need for proof.

The root meaning of the word postulate is to "demand"; for instance, Euclid demands that one agree that some things can be done, e.g. any two points can be joined by a straight line, etc.[6]

Ancient geometers maintained some distinction between axioms and postulates. While commenting on Euclid's books, Proclus remarks that, "Geminus held that this [4th] Postulate should not be classed as a postulate but as an axiom, since it does not, like the first three Postulates, assert the possibility of some construction but expresses an essential property."[7] Boethius translated 'postulate' as petitio and called the axioms notiones communes but in later manuscripts this usage was not always strictly kept.

Historical development

Early Greeks

The logico-deductive method whereby conclusions (new knowledge) follow from premises (old knowledge) through the application of sound arguments (syllogisms, rules of inference), was developed by the ancient Greeks, and has become the core principle of modern mathematics. Tautologies excluded, nothing can be deduced if nothing is assumed. Axioms and postulates are the basic assumptions underlying a given body of deductive knowledge. They are accepted without demonstration. All other assertions (theorems, if we are talking about mathematics) must be proven with the aid of these basic assumptions. However, the interpretation of mathematical knowledge has changed from ancient times to the modern, and consequently the terms axiom and postulate hold a slightly different meaning for the present day mathematician, than they did for Aristotle and Euclid.

The ancient Greeks considered geometry as just one of several sciences, and held the theorems of geometry on par with scientific facts. As such, they developed and used the logico-deductive method as a means of avoiding error, and for structuring and communicating knowledge. Aristotle's posterior analytics is a definitive exposition of the classical view.

An "axiom", in classical terminology, referred to a self-evident assumption common to many branches of science. A good example would be the assertion that

When an equal amount is taken from equals, an equal amount results.

At the foundation of the various sciences lay certain additional hypotheses which were accepted without proof. Such a hypothesis was termed a postulate. While the axioms were common to many sciences, the postulates of each particular science were different. Their validity had to be established by means of real-world experience. Indeed, Aristotle warns that the content of a science cannot be successfully communicated, if the learner is in doubt about the truth of the postulates.[8]

The classical approach is well-illustrated by Euclid's Elements, where a list of postulates is given (common-sensical geometric facts drawn from our experience), followed by a list of "common notions" (very basic, self-evident assertions).

Postulates
  1. It is possible to draw a straight line from any point to any other point.
  2. It is possible to extend a line segment continuously in both directions.
  3. It is possible to describe a circle with any center and any radius.
  4. It is true that all right angles are equal to one another.
  5. ("Parallel postulate") It is true that, if a straight line falling on two straight lines make the interior angles on the same side less than two right angles, the two straight lines, if produced indefinitely, intersect on that side on which are the angles less than the two right angles.
Common notions
  1. Things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another.
  2. If equals are added to equals, the wholes are equal.
  3. If equals are subtracted from equals, the remainders are equal.
  4. Things which coincide with one another are equal to one another.
  5. The whole is greater than the part.

Modern development

A lesson learned by mathematics in the last 150 years is that it is useful to strip the meaning away from the mathematical assertions (axioms, postulates, propositions, theorems) and definitions. One must concede the need for primitive notions, or undefined terms or concepts, in any study. Such abstraction or formalization makes mathematical knowledge more general, capable of multiple different meanings, and therefore useful in multiple contexts. Alessandro Padoa, Mario Pieri, and Giuseppe Peano were pioneers in this movement.

Structuralist mathematics goes further, and develops theories and axioms (e.g. field theory, group theory, topology, vector spaces) without any particular application in mind. The distinction between an "axiom" and a "postulate" disappears. The postulates of Euclid are profitably motivated by saying that they lead to a great wealth of geometric facts. The truth of these complicated facts rests on the acceptance of the basic hypotheses. However, by throwing out Euclid's fifth postulate we get theories that have meaning in wider contexts, hyperbolic geometry for example. We must simply be prepared to use labels like "line" and "parallel" with greater flexibility. The development of hyperbolic geometry taught mathematicians that postulates should be regarded as purely formal statements, and not as facts based on experience.

When mathematicians employ the field axioms, the intentions are even more abstract. The propositions of field theory do not concern any one particular application; the mathematician now works in complete abstraction. There are many examples of fields; field theory gives correct knowledge about them all.

It is not correct to say that the axioms of field theory are "propositions that are regarded as true without proof." Rather, the field axioms are a set of constraints. If any given system of addition and multiplication satisfies these constraints, then one is in a position to instantly know a great deal of extra information about this system.

Modern mathematics formalizes its foundations to such an extent that mathematical theories can be regarded as mathematical objects, and mathematics itself can be regarded as a branch of logic. Frege, Russell, Poincaré, Hilbert, and Gödel are some of the key figures in this development.

In the modern understanding, a set of axioms is any collection of formally stated assertions from which other formally stated assertions follow by the application of certain well-defined rules. In this view, logic becomes just another formal system. A set of axioms should be consistent; it should be impossible to derive a contradiction from the axiom. A set of axioms should also be non-redundant; an assertion that can be deduced from other axioms need not be regarded as an axiom.

It was the early hope of modern logicians that various branches of mathematics, perhaps all of mathematics, could be derived from a consistent collection of basic axioms. An early success of the formalist program was Hilbert's formalization of Euclidean geometry, and the related demonstration of the consistency of those axioms.

In a wider context, there was an attempt to base all of mathematics on Cantor's set theory. Here the emergence of Russell's paradox, and similar antinomies of naïve set theory raised the possibility that any such system could turn out to be inconsistent.

The formalist project suffered a decisive setback, when in 1931 Gödel showed that it is possible, for any sufficiently large set of axioms (Peano's axioms, for example) to construct a statement whose truth is independent of that set of axioms. As a corollary, Gödel proved that the consistency of a theory like Peano arithmetic is an unprovable assertion within the scope of that theory.

It is reasonable to believe in the consistency of Peano arithmetic because it is satisfied by the system of natural numbers, an infinite but intuitively accessible formal system. However, at present, there is no known way of demonstrating the consistency of the modern Zermelo–Fraenkel axioms for set theory. Furthermore, using techniques of forcing (Cohen) one can show that the continuum hypothesis (Cantor) is independent of the Zermelo–Fraenkel axioms. Thus, even this very general set of axioms cannot be regarded as the definitive foundation for mathematics.

Other sciences

Axioms play a key role not only in mathematics, but also in other sciences, notably in theoretical physics. In particular, the monumental work of Isaac Newton is essentially based on Euclid's axioms, augmented by a postulate on the non-relation of spacetime and the physics taking place in it at any moment.

In 1905, Newton's axioms were replaced by those of Albert Einstein's special relativity, and later on by those of general relativity.

Another paper of Albert Einstein and coworkers (see EPR paradox), almost immediately contradicted by Niels Bohr, concerned the interpretation of quantum mechanics. This was in 1935. According to Bohr, this new theory should be probabilistic, whereas according to Einstein it should be deterministic. Notably, the underlying quantum mechanical theory, i.e. the set of "theorems" derived by it, seemed to be identical. Einstein even assumed that it would be sufficient to add to quantum mechanics "hidden variables" to enforce determinism. However, thirty years later, in 1964, John Bell found a theorem, involving complicated optical correlations (see Bell inequalities), which yielded measurably different results using Einstein's axioms compared to using Bohr's axioms. And it took roughly another twenty years until an experiment of Alain Aspect got results in favour of Bohr's axioms, not Einstein's. (Bohr's axioms are simply: The theory should be probabilistic in the sense of the Copenhagen interpretation.)

As a consequence, it is not necessary to explicitly cite Einstein's axioms, the more so since they concern subtle points on the "reality" and "locality" of experiments.

Regardless, the role of axioms in mathematics and in the above-mentioned sciences is different. In mathematics one neither "proves" nor "disproves" an axiom for a set of theorems; the point is simply that in the conceptual realm identified by the axioms, the theorems logically follow. In contrast, in physics a comparison with experiments always makes sense, since a falsified physical theory needs modification.

Mathematical logic

In the field of mathematical logic, a clear distinction is made between two notions of axioms: logical and non-logical (somewhat similar to the ancient distinction between "axioms" and "postulates" respectively).

Logical axioms

These are certain formulas in a formal language that are universally valid, that is, formulas that are satisfied by every assignment of values. Usually one takes as logical axioms at least some minimal set of tautologies that is sufficient for proving all tautologies in the language; in the case of predicate logic more logical axioms than that are required, in order to prove logical truths that are not tautologies in the strict sense.

Examples

In propositional logic it is common to take as logical axioms all formulae of the following forms, where , , and can be any formulae of the language and where the included primitive connectives are only "" for negation of the immediately following proposition and "" for implication from antecedent to consequent propositions:

Each of these patterns is an axiom schema, a rule for generating an infinite number of axioms. For example, if , , and are propositional variables, then and are both instances of axiom schema 1, and hence are axioms. It can be shown that with only these three axiom schemata and modus ponens, one can prove all tautologies of the propositional calculus. It can also be shown that no pair of these schemata is sufficient for proving all tautologies with modus ponens.

Other axiom schemata involving the same or different sets of primitive connectives can be alternatively constructed.[9]

These axiom schemata are also used in the predicate calculus, but additional logical axioms are needed to include a quantifier in the calculus.[10]

Axiom of Equality. Let be a first-order language. For each variable , the formula

is universally valid.

This means that, for any variable symbol the formula can be regarded as an axiom. Also, in this example, for this not to fall into vagueness and a never-ending series of "primitive notions", either a precise notion of what we mean by (or, for that matter, "to be equal") has to be well established first, or a purely formal and syntactical usage of the symbol has to be enforced, only regarding it as a string and only a string of symbols, and mathematical logic does indeed do that.

Another, more interesting example axiom scheme, is that which provides us with what is known as Universal Instantiation:

Axiom scheme for Universal Instantiation. Given a formula in a first-order language , a variable and a term that is substitutable for in , the formula

is universally valid.

Where the symbol stands for the formula with the term substituted for . (See Substitution of variables.) In informal terms, this example allows us to state that, if we know that a certain property holds for every and that stands for a particular object in our structure, then we should be able to claim . Again, we are claiming that the formula is valid, that is, we must be able to give a "proof" of this fact, or more properly speaking, a metaproof. Actually, these examples are metatheorems of our theory of mathematical logic since we are dealing with the very concept of proof itself. Aside from this, we can also have Existential Generalization:

Axiom scheme for Existential Generalization. Given a formula in a first-order language , a variable and a term that is substitutable for in , the formula

is universally valid.

Non-logical axioms

Non-logical axioms are formulas that play the role of theory-specific assumptions. Reasoning about two different structures, for example the natural numbers and the integers, may involve the same logical axioms; the non-logical axioms aim to capture what is special about a particular structure (or set of structures, such as groups). Thus non-logical axioms, unlike logical axioms, are not tautologies. Another name for a non-logical axiom is postulate.[11]

Almost every modern mathematical theory starts from a given set of non-logical axioms, and it was thought that in principle every theory could be axiomatized in this way and formalized down to the bare language of logical formulas.

Non-logical axioms are often simply referred to as axioms in mathematical discourse. This does not mean that it is claimed that they are true in some absolute sense. For example, in some groups, the group operation is commutative, and this can be asserted with the introduction of an additional axiom, but without this axiom we can do quite well developing (the more general) group theory, and we can even take its negation as an axiom for the study of non-commutative groups.

Thus, an axiom is an elementary basis for a formal logic system that together with the rules of inference define a deductive system.

Examples

This section gives examples of mathematical theories that are developed entirely from a set of non-logical axioms (axioms, henceforth). A rigorous treatment of any of these topics begins with a specification of these axioms.

Basic theories, such as arithmetic, real analysis and complex analysis are often introduced non-axiomatically, but implicitly or explicitly there is generally an assumption that the axioms being used are the axioms of Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory with choice, abbreviated ZFC, or some very similar system of axiomatic set theory like Von Neumann–Bernays–Gödel set theory, a conservative extension of ZFC. Sometimes slightly stronger theories such as Morse–Kelley set theory or set theory with a strongly inaccessible cardinal allowing the use of a Grothendieck universe are used, but in fact most mathematicians can actually prove all they need in systems weaker than ZFC, such as second-order arithmetic.

The study of topology in mathematics extends all over through point set topology, algebraic topology, differential topology, and all the related paraphernalia, such as homology theory, homotopy theory. The development of abstract algebra brought with itself group theory, rings, fields, and Galois theory.

This list could be expanded to include most fields of mathematics, including measure theory, ergodic theory, probability, representation theory, and differential geometry.

The Peano axioms are the most widely used axiomatization of first-order arithmetic. They are a set of axioms strong enough to prove many important facts about number theory and they allowed Gödel to establish his famous second incompleteness theorem.[12]

We have a language where is a constant symbol and is a unary function and the following axioms:

  1. for any formula with one free variable.

The standard structure is where is the set of natural numbers, is the successor function and is naturally interpreted as the number 0.

Probably the oldest, and most famous, list of axioms are the 4 + 1 Euclid's postulates of plane geometry. The axioms are referred to as "4 + 1" because for nearly two millennia the fifth (parallel) postulate ("through a point outside a line there is exactly one parallel") was suspected of being derivable from the first four. Ultimately, the fifth postulate was found to be independent of the first four. Indeed, one can assume that exactly one parallel through a point outside a line exists, or that infinitely many exist. This choice gives us two alternative forms of geometry in which the interior angles of a triangle add up to exactly 180 degrees or less, respectively, and are known as Euclidean and hyperbolic geometries. If one also removes the second postulate ("a line can be extended indefinitely") then elliptic geometry arises, where there is no parallel through a point outside a line, and in which the interior angles of a triangle add up to more than 180 degrees.

The objectives of study are within the domain of real numbers. The real numbers are uniquely picked out (up to isomorphism) by the properties of a Dedekind complete ordered field, meaning that any nonempty set of real numbers with an upper bound has a least upper bound. However, expressing these properties as axioms requires use of second-order logic. The Löwenheim–Skolem theorems tell us that if we restrict ourselves to first-order logic, any axiom system for the reals admits other models, including both models that are smaller than the reals and models that are larger. Some of the latter are studied in non-standard analysis.

Role in mathematical logic

Deductive systems and completeness

A deductive system consists of a set of logical axioms, a set of non-logical axioms, and a set of rules of inference. A desirable property of a deductive system is that it be complete. A system is said to be complete if, for all formulas ,

that is, for any statement that is a logical consequence of there actually exists a deduction of the statement from . This is sometimes expressed as "everything that is true is provable", but it must be understood that "true" here means "made true by the set of axioms", and not, for example, "true in the intended interpretation". Gödel's completeness theorem establishes the completeness of a certain commonly used type of deductive system.

Note that "completeness" has a different meaning here than it does in the context of Gödel's first incompleteness theorem, which states that no recursive, consistent set of non-logical axioms of the Theory of Arithmetic is complete, in the sense that there will always exist an arithmetic statement such that neither nor can be proved from the given set of axioms.

There is thus, on the one hand, the notion of completeness of a deductive system and on the other hand that of completeness of a set of non-logical axioms. The completeness theorem and the incompleteness theorem, despite their names, do not contradict one another.

Further discussion

Early mathematicians regarded axiomatic geometry as a model of physical space, and obviously there could only be one such model. The idea that alternative mathematical systems might exist was very troubling to mathematicians of the 19th century and the developers of systems such as Boolean algebra made elaborate efforts to derive them from traditional arithmetic. Galois showed just before his untimely death that these efforts were largely wasted. Ultimately, the abstract parallels between algebraic systems were seen to be more important than the details and modern algebra was born. In the modern view axioms may be any set of formulas, as long as they are not known to be inconsistent.

See also

References

  1. ^ Cf. axiom, n., etymology. Oxford English Dictionary, accessed 2012-04-28.
  2. ^ Oxford American College Dictionary: "n. a statement or proposition that is regarded as being established, accepted, or self-evidently true. ORIGIN: late 15th cent.: ultimately from Greek axiōma 'what is thought fitting,' from axios 'worthy.' HighBeam (subscription required)
  3. ^ "A proposition that commends itself to general acceptance; a well-established or universally conceded principle; a maxim, rule, law" axiom, n., definition 1a. Oxford English Dictionary Online, accessed 2012-04-28. Cf. Aristotle, Posterior Analytics I.2.72a18-b4.
  4. ^ "A proposition (whether true or false)" axiom, n., definition 2. Oxford English Dictionary Online, accessed 2012-04-28.
  5. ^ See for example Maddy, Penelope (June 1988). "Believing the Axioms, I". Journal of Symbolic Logic. 53 (2): 481–511. doi:10.2307/2274520. for a realist view.
  6. ^ Wolff, P. Breakthroughs in Mathematics, 1963, New York: New American Library, pp 47–48
  7. ^ Heath, T. 1956. The Thirteen Books of Euclid's Elements. New York: Dover. p 200
  8. ^ Aristotle, Metaphysics Bk IV, Chapter 3, 1005b "Physics also is a kind of Wisdom, but it is not the first kind. – And the attempts of some of those who discuss the terms on which truth should be accepted, are due to want of training in logic; for they should know these things already when they come to a special study, and not be inquiring into them while they are listening to lectures on it." W.D. Ross translation, in The Basic Works of Aristotle, ed. Richard McKeon, (Random House, New York, 1941)|date=June 2011
  9. ^ Mendelson, "6. Other Axiomatizations" of Ch. 1
  10. ^ Mendelson, "3. First-Order Theories" of Ch. 2
  11. ^ Mendelson, "3. First-Order Theories: Proper Axioms" of Ch. 2
  12. ^ Mendelson, "5. The Fixed Point Theorem. Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem" of Ch. 2

Further reading

External links

Archimedean property

In abstract algebra and analysis, the Archimedean property, named after the ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes of Syracuse, is a property held by some algebraic structures, such as ordered or normed groups, and fields. Roughly speaking, it is the property of having no infinitely large or infinitely small elements. It was Otto Stolz who gave the axiom of Archimedes its name because it appears as Axiom V of Archimedes’ On the Sphere and Cylinder.The notion arose from the theory of magnitudes of Ancient Greece; it still plays an important role in modern mathematics such as David Hilbert's axioms for geometry, and the theories of ordered groups, ordered fields, and local fields.

An algebraic structure in which any two non-zero elements are comparable, in the sense that neither of them is infinitesimal with respect to the other, is said to be Archimedean. A structure which has a pair of non-zero elements, one of which is infinitesimal with respect to the other, is said to be non-Archimedean. For example, a linearly ordered group that is Archimedean is an Archimedean group.

This can be made precise in various contexts with slightly different formulations. For example, in the context of ordered fields, one has the axiom of Archimedes which formulates this property, where the field of real numbers is Archimedean, but that of rational functions in real coefficients is not.

Axiom of choice

In mathematics, the axiom of choice, or AC, is an axiom of set theory equivalent to the statement that the Cartesian product of a collection of non-empty sets is non-empty. Informally put, the axiom of choice says that given any collection of bins, each containing at least one object, it is possible to make a selection of exactly one object from each bin, even if the collection is infinite. Formally, it states that for every indexed family of nonempty sets there exists an indexed family of elements such that for every . The axiom of choice was formulated in 1904 by Ernst Zermelo in order to formalize his proof of the well-ordering theorem.

In many cases, such a selection can be made without invoking the axiom of choice; this is in particular the case if the number of sets is finite, or if a selection rule is available – some distinguishing property that happens to hold for exactly one element in each set. An illustrative example is sets picked from the natural numbers. From such sets, one may always select the smallest number, e.g. in {{4, 5, 6}, {10, 12}, {1, 400, 617, 8000}} the smallest elements are {4, 10, 1}. In this case, "select the smallest number" is a choice function. Even if infinitely many sets were collected from the natural numbers, it will always be possible to choose the smallest element from each set to produce a set. That is, the choice function provides the set of chosen elements. However, no choice function is known for the collection of all non-empty subsets of the real numbers (if there are non-constructible reals). In that case, the axiom of choice must be invoked.

Bertrand Russell coined an analogy: for any (even infinite) collection of pairs of shoes, one can pick out the left shoe from each pair to obtain an appropriate selection; this makes it possible to directly define a choice function. For an infinite collection of pairs of socks (assumed to have no distinguishing features), there is no obvious way to make a function that selects one sock from each pair, without invoking the axiom of choice.

Although originally controversial, the axiom of choice is now used without reservation by most mathematicians, and it is included in the standard form of axiomatic set theory, Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory with the axiom of choice (ZFC). One motivation for this use is that a number of generally accepted mathematical results, such as Tychonoff's theorem, require the axiom of choice for their proofs. Contemporary set theorists also study axioms that are not compatible with the axiom of choice, such as the axiom of determinacy. The axiom of choice is avoided in some varieties of constructive mathematics, although there are varieties of constructive mathematics in which the axiom of choice is embraced.

Axiom of infinity

In axiomatic set theory and the branches of mathematics and philosophy that use it, the axiom of infinity is one of the axioms of Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory. It guarantees the existence of at least one infinite set, namely a set containing the natural numbers. It was first published by Ernst Zermelo as part of his set theory in 1908.

Axiom of regularity

In mathematics, the axiom of regularity (also known as the axiom of foundation) is an axiom of Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory that states that every non-empty set A contains an element that is disjoint from A. In first-order logic, the axiom reads:

.

The axiom implies that no set is an element of itself, and that there is no infinite sequence (an) such that ai+1 is an element of ai for all i. With the axiom of dependent choice (which is a weakened form of the axiom of choice), this result can be reversed: if there are no such infinite sequences, then the axiom of regularity is true. Hence, the axiom of regularity is equivalent, given the axiom of dependent choice, to the alternative axiom that there are no downward infinite membership chains.

The axiom of regularity was introduced by von Neumann (1925); it was adopted in a formulation closer to the one found in contemporary textbooks by Zermelo (1930). Virtually all results in the branches of mathematics based on set theory hold even in the absence of regularity; see chapter 3 of Kunen (1980). However, regularity makes some properties of ordinals easier to prove; and it not only allows induction to be done on well-ordered sets but also on proper classes that are well-founded relational structures such as the lexicographical ordering on

Given the other axioms of Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory, the axiom of regularity is equivalent to the axiom of induction. The axiom of induction tends to be used in place of the axiom of regularity in intuitionistic theories (ones that do not accept the law of the excluded middle), where the two axioms are not equivalent.

In addition to omitting the axiom of regularity, non-standard set theories have indeed postulated the existence of sets that are elements of themselves.

Axiom schema

In mathematical logic, an axiom schema (plural: axiom schemata or axiom schemas) generalizes the notion of axiom.

Axiom schema of specification

In many popular versions of axiomatic set theory the axiom schema of specification, also known as the axiom schema of separation, subset axiom scheme or axiom schema of restricted comprehension is an axiom schema. Essentially, it says that any definable subclass of a set is a set.

Some mathematicians call it the axiom schema of comprehension, although others use that term for unrestricted comprehension, discussed below.

Because restricting comprehension solved Russell's paradox, several mathematicians including Zermelo, Fraenkel, and Gödel considered it the most important axiom of set theory.

Axiomatic system

In mathematics, an axiomatic system is any set of axioms from which some or all axioms can be used in conjunction to logically derive theorems. A theory consists of an axiomatic system and all its derived theorems. An axiomatic system that is completely described is a special kind of formal system. A formal theory typically means an axiomatic system, for example formulated within model theory. A formal proof is a complete rendition of a mathematical proof within a formal system.

Cardinal number

In mathematics, cardinal numbers, or cardinals for short, are a generalization of the natural numbers used to measure the cardinality (size) of sets. The cardinality of a finite set is a natural number: the number of elements in the set. The transfinite cardinal numbers describe the sizes of infinite sets.

Cardinality is defined in terms of bijective functions. Two sets have the same cardinality if, and only if, there is a one-to-one correspondence (bijection) between the elements of the two sets. In the case of finite sets, this agrees with the intuitive notion of size. In the case of infinite sets, the behavior is more complex. A fundamental theorem due to Georg Cantor shows that it is possible for infinite sets to have different cardinalities, and in particular the cardinality of the set of real numbers is greater than the cardinality of the set of natural numbers. It is also possible for a proper subset of an infinite set to have the same cardinality as the original set, something that cannot happen with proper subsets of finite sets.

There is a transfinite sequence of cardinal numbers:

This sequence starts with the natural numbers including zero (finite cardinals), which are followed by the aleph numbers (infinite cardinals of well-ordered sets). The aleph numbers are indexed by ordinal numbers. Under the assumption of the axiom of choice, this transfinite sequence includes every cardinal number. If one rejects that axiom, the situation is more complicated, with additional infinite cardinals that are not alephs.

Cardinality is studied for its own sake as part of set theory. It is also a tool used in branches of mathematics including model theory, combinatorics, abstract algebra, and mathematical analysis. In category theory, the cardinal numbers form a skeleton of the category of sets.

Hausdorff space

In topology and related branches of mathematics, a Hausdorff space, separated space or T2 space is a topological space where for any two distinct points there exists a neighbourhood of each which is disjoint from the neighbourhood of the other. Of the many separation axioms that can be imposed on a topological space, the "Hausdorff condition" (T2) is the most frequently used and discussed. It implies the uniqueness of limits of sequences, nets, and filters.

Hausdorff spaces are named after Felix Hausdorff, one of the founders of topology. Hausdorff's original definition of a topological space (in 1914) included the Hausdorff condition as an axiom.

Large cardinal

In the mathematical field of set theory, a large cardinal property is a certain kind of property of transfinite cardinal numbers. Cardinals with such properties are, as the name suggests, generally very "large" (for example, bigger than the least α such that α=ωα). The proposition that such cardinals exist cannot be proved in the most common axiomatization of set theory, namely ZFC, and such propositions can be viewed as ways of measuring how "much", beyond ZFC, one needs to assume to be able to prove certain desired results. In other words, they can be seen, in Dana Scott's phrase, as quantifying the fact "that if you want more you have to assume more".There is a rough convention that results provable from ZFC alone may be stated without hypotheses, but that if the proof requires other assumptions (such as the existence of large cardinals), these should be stated. Whether this is simply a linguistic convention, or something more, is a controversial point among distinct philosophical schools (see Motivations and epistemic status below).

A large cardinal axiom is an axiom stating that there exists a cardinal (or perhaps many of them) with some specified large cardinal property.

Most working set theorists believe that the large cardinal axioms that are currently being considered are consistent with ZFC. These axioms are strong enough to imply the consistency of ZFC. This has the consequence (via Gödel's second incompleteness theorem) that their consistency with ZFC cannot be proven in ZFC (assuming ZFC is consistent).

There is no generally agreed precise definition of what a large cardinal property is, though essentially everyone agrees that those in the list of large cardinal properties are large cardinal properties.

Non-aggression principle

The non-aggression principle (NAP), also called the non-aggression axiom, the anti-coercion, zero aggression principle, or non-initiation of force, is an ethical stance asserting that aggression is inherently wrong. In this context, aggression is defined as initiating or threatening any forceful interference with an individual or their property. In contrast to pacifism, it does not forbid forceful defense.

The NAP is considered by some to be a defining principle of libertarianism, especially natural-rights libertarianism. It is also a prominent idea in anarcho-capitalism, classical liberalism and minarchism.

OGRE

Object-Oriented Graphics Rendering Engine (OGRE) is a scene-oriented, real-time, 3D rendering engine. The software is open-source. The first version of the software was released in February 2005. The software is written in C++.Ogre has been ported to Windows, OSX, Linux, PocketPC, Xbox, and PS3.

Parallel postulate

In geometry, the parallel postulate, also called Euclid's fifth postulate because it is the fifth postulate in Euclid's Elements, is a distinctive axiom in Euclidean geometry. It states that, in two-dimensional geometry:

If a line segment intersects two straight lines forming two interior angles on the same side that sum to less than two right angles, then the two lines, if extended indefinitely, meet on that side on which the angles sum to less than two right angles.

This postulate does not specifically talk about parallel lines; it is only a postulate related to parallelism. Euclid gave the definition of parallel lines in Book I, Definition 23 just before the five postulates.Euclidean geometry is the study of geometry that satisfies all of Euclid's axioms, including the parallel postulate. A geometry where the parallel postulate does not hold is known as a non-Euclidean geometry. Geometry that is independent of Euclid's fifth postulate (i.e., only assumes the modern equivalent of the first four postulates) is known as absolute geometry (or, in other places known as neutral geometry).

Peano axioms

In mathematical logic, the Peano axioms, also known as the Dedekind–Peano axioms or the Peano postulates, are axioms for the natural numbers presented by the 19th century Italian mathematician Giuseppe Peano. These axioms have been used nearly unchanged in a number of metamathematical investigations, including research into fundamental questions of whether number theory is consistent and complete.

The need to formalize arithmetic was not well appreciated until the work of Hermann Grassmann, who showed in the 1860s that many facts in arithmetic could be derived from more basic facts about the successor operation and induction. In 1881, Charles Sanders Peirce provided an axiomatization of natural-number arithmetic. In 1888, Richard Dedekind proposed another axiomatization of natural-number arithmetic, and in 1889, Peano published a simplified version of them as a collection of axioms in his book, The principles of arithmetic presented by a new method (Latin: Arithmetices principia, nova methodo exposita).

The Peano axioms contain three types of statements. The first axiom asserts the existence of at least one member of the set of natural numbers. The next four are general statements about equality; in modern treatments these are often not taken as part of the Peano axioms, but rather as axioms of the "underlying logic". The next three axioms are first-order statements about natural numbers expressing the fundamental properties of the successor operation. The ninth, final axiom is a second order statement of the principle of mathematical induction over the natural numbers. A weaker first-order system called Peano arithmetic is obtained by explicitly adding the addition and multiplication operation symbols and replacing the second-order induction axiom with a first-order axiom schema.

Reflexive Entertainment

Reflexive Entertainment was a video game developer based in Lake Forest, California. The company was cofounded by Lars Brubaker, Ernie Ramirez, James Smith and Ion Hardie in 1997. They developed nineteen games independently (for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and Mac platforms), published two games, started distribution of downloadable casual games on their online Arcade, created a division of their Arcade entirely devoted to Mac games for Mac users and started hosting ad supported free online web browser games. In 2005, Reflexive's Wik and the Fable of Souls won three awards at the 2005 Independent Games Festival which included Innovation in Visual Art, Innovation in Game Design and the Seumas McNally Award For Independent Game Of The Year. In October 2008, Reflexive Entertainment was acquired by Amazon.com. On February 3, 2009, Amazon.com began hosting casual game content for internet download.On March 31, 2010, Reflexive announced plans to stop selling games through its affiliate program in order to focus entirely on game development. In a letter sent to affiliates, CEO Brubaker stated that the program would continue its business as usual, which included web support and payment of referral fees on game sales until June 30.

Set theory

Set theory is a branch of mathematical logic that studies sets, which informally are collections of objects. Although any type of object can be collected into a set, set theory is applied most often to objects that are relevant to mathematics. The language of set theory can be used to define nearly all mathematical objects.

The modern study of set theory was initiated by Georg Cantor and Richard Dedekind in the 1870s. After the discovery of paradoxes in naive set theory, such as Russell's paradox, numerous axiom systems were proposed in the early twentieth century, of which the Zermelo–Fraenkel axioms, with or without the axiom of choice, are the best-known.

Set theory is commonly employed as a foundational system for mathematics, particularly in the form of Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory with the axiom of choice. Beyond its foundational role, set theory is a branch of mathematics in its own right, with an active research community. Contemporary research into set theory includes a diverse collection of topics, ranging from the structure of the real number line to the study of the consistency of large cardinals.

Uncountable set

In mathematics, an uncountable set (or uncountably infinite set) is an infinite set that contains too many elements to be countable. The uncountability of a set is closely related to its cardinal number: a set is uncountable if its cardinal number is larger than that of the set of all natural numbers.

Von Neumann–Bernays–Gödel set theory

In the foundations of mathematics, von Neumann–Bernays–Gödel set theory (NBG) is an axiomatic set theory that is a conservative extension of Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory (ZFC). NBG introduces the notion of class, which is a collection of sets defined by a formula whose quantifiers range only over sets. NBG can define classes that are larger than sets, such as the class of all sets and the class of all ordinals. Morse–Kelley set theory (MK) allows classes to be defined by formulas whose quantifiers range over classes. NBG is finitely axiomatizable, while ZFC and MK are not.

A key theorem of NBG is the class existence theorem, which states that for every formula whose quantifiers range only over sets, there is a class consisting of the sets satisfying the formula. This class is built by mirroring the step-by-step construction of the formula with classes. Since all set-theoretic formulas are constructed from two kinds of atomic formulas (membership and equality) and finitely many logical symbols, only finitely many axioms are needed to build the classes satisfying them. This is why NBG is finitely axiomatizable. Classes are also used for other constructions, for handling the set-theoretic paradoxes, and for stating the axiom of global choice, which is stronger than ZFC's axiom of choice.

John von Neumann introduced classes into set theory in 1925. The primitive notions of his theory were function and argument. Using these notions, he defined class and set. Paul Bernays reformulated von Neumann's theory by taking class and set as primitive notions. Kurt Gödel simplified Bernays' theory for his relative consistency proof of the axiom of choice and the generalized continuum hypothesis.

Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory

In set theory, Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory, named after mathematicians Ernst Zermelo and Abraham Fraenkel, is an axiomatic system that was proposed in the early twentieth century in order to formulate a theory of sets free of paradoxes such as Russell's paradox. Today, Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory, with the historically controversial axiom of choice (AC) included, is the standard form of axiomatic set theory and as such is the most common foundation of mathematics. Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory with the axiom of choice included is abbreviated ZFC, where C stands for "choice", and ZF refers to the axioms of Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory with the axiom of choice excluded.

Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory is intended to formalize a single primitive notion, that of a hereditary well-founded set, so that all entities in the universe of discourse are such sets. Thus the axioms of Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory refer only to pure sets and prevent its models from containing urelements (elements of sets that are not themselves sets). Furthermore, proper classes (collections of mathematical objects defined by a property shared by their members which are too big to be sets) can only be treated indirectly. Specifically, Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory does not allow for the existence of a universal set (a set containing all sets) nor for unrestricted comprehension, thereby avoiding Russell's paradox. Von Neumann–Bernays–Gödel set theory (NBG) is a commonly used conservative extension of Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory that does allow explicit treatment of proper classes.

There are many equivalent formulations of the axioms of Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory. Most of the axioms state the existence of particular sets defined from other sets. For example, the axiom of pairing says that given any two sets a and b there is a new set {a, b} containing exactly a and b. Other axioms describe properties of set membership. A goal of the axioms is that each axiom should be true if interpreted as a statement about the collection of all sets in the von Neumann universe (also known as the cumulative hierarchy).

The metamathematics of Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory has been extensively studied. Landmark results in this area established the logical independence of the axiom of choice from the remaining ZFC axioms (see Axiom of choice#Independence) and of the continuum hypothesis from ZFC. The consistency of a theory such as ZFC cannot be proved within the theory itself, as shown by Gödel's second incompleteness theorem.

Formally, ZFC is a one-sorted theory in first-order logic. The signature has equality and a single primitive binary relation, set membership, which is usually denoted ∈. The formula a ∈ b means that the set a is a member of the set b (which is also read, "a is an element of b" or "a is in b").

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