Large Cardinal

(Axioms Of Set Theory)


Axioms Of Set Theory
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What is 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 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.

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