The Continuum Problem and Forcing
1.1. Cantor introduced two fundamental ideas in the theory of infinite sets: he discovered (or invented?) the scale of cardinalities of infinite sets, and gave a proof that this scale is unbounded. We recall that two sets M and N are said to have the same cardinality (card M = card N) if there exists a one-to-one correspondence between them. We write card M ≤ card N if M has the same cardinality as a subset of N. We say that M and N are comparable if either card M ≤ card N or card N ≤ card M. We write card M > card N if card M ≤ card N but M and N do not have the same cardinality.
1.2. Theorem (Cantor, Schröder, Bernstein, Zermelo)
(a) Any two sets are comparable. If both card M ≤ card N and card N ≤ card M, then card M = card N. In other words, the cardinalities are linearly ordered.
(b) Let P(M) be the set of all subsets of M. Then card P(M) > card M. In particular, there does not exist a largest cardinality.
(c) In any class of cardinalities there is a least cardinality. In other words, the cardinalities are well-ordered.
KeywordsBoolean Algebra Atomic Formula Continuum Problem Continuum Hypothesis Complete Boolean Algebra
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.