question about cardinality of empty set

Hi

I am doing the chapter "Equinemerous sets" from Velleman's "How to prove it" and

I have some doubts. At one point he says that "for each natural number n , let

. A set

is called if there is a natural number n such that

. Otherwise A is . "

Further down he says that "it makes sense to define the number of elements of

a finite set A to be the unique n such that . This number

is also sometimes called the cardinality of A and its denoted

. Note that according to this definition,

is finite and ."

So that will mean that we will need to choose n=0 for an empty set, so that

. Now according to the author's defnition of

, . So

which is true since for any set A, we have .

Do you think its correct understanding ?

Thanks

Re: question about cardinality of empty set

Quote:

Originally Posted by

**issacnewton** At one point he says that "for each natural number n , let

. A set

is called

if there is a natural number n such that

. Otherwise A is

. "

Further down he says that "it makes sense to define the number of elements of

a finite set A to be the unique n such that

. This number

is also sometimes called the cardinality of A and its denoted

. Note that according to this definition,

is finite and

."

So that will mean that we will need to choose n=0 for an empty set, so that

. Now according to the author's definition of

,

. So

which is true since for any set A, we have

.

Do you think its correct understanding ?

That is consistent with his definition because must be .

Re: question about cardinality of empty set

What is ?

Re: question about cardinality of empty set

Quote:

Originally Posted by

**issacnewton** What is

?

Well look at Velleman's own definition: .

Now what **positive integer** is less than or equal to zero?

So answer your own question.

Note that Velleman did not specify the nature of **n** in that definition.

So

Re: question about cardinality of empty set

Oh you meant . Ya I get that. Does your book have a different symbol there ? I think you have first edition. anyway...

Velleman's definitions are too formal. Even wikipedia doesn't give such definitions and I have not seen other maths books giving

the definitions so formally. I think he is a set theorist/logician, that's why he is too formal. Or since he is teaching "how to prove it" so

it makes sense to give definitions as rigorous as possible

Re: question about cardinality of empty set

Quote:

Originally Posted by

**issacnewton** Oh you meant

. Ya I get that. Does your book have a different symbol there ? I think you have first edition. anyway...

Velleman's definitions are too formal. Even wikipedia doesn't give such definitions and I have not seen other maths books giving the definitions so formally. I think he is a set theorist/logician, that's why he is too formal. Or since he is teaching "how to prove it" so

it makes sense to give definitions as rigorous as possible

This may surprise you but I have never seen that textbook.

But if you look at Velleman's pedigree you see that one of his advisers was Mary Ellen Rudin (Walter Rudin's wife) and an R L Moore's PhD student. That should at once tell you that her students should be a stickler for precise definitions. There you have some of the best mathematicians of the last century . So if I were you I would rethink that remark.

Re: question about cardinality of empty set

Well, thanks for the information. Not being from US, didn't know that.

Its strange that even the real analysis books I have seen, don't use such precise

definitions. So that style is not followed everywhere. I was checking Moore's wikipedia page and there is mention of Moore's method. May be this style comes from there....