Analysis I (Volume 1) by Terence Tao

By Terence Tao

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This axiom allows us to define triplet sets, quadruplet sets, and so forth: if a, b, care three objects, we define {a, b, c} := {a}U{b}U {c}; if a, b, c, d are four objects, then we define {a, b, c, d} := {a} U {b}U{c}U{d}, and so forth. On the other hand, we are not yet in a position to define sets consisting of n objects for any given natural number n; this would require iterating the above construction "n times", but the concept of n-fold iteration has not yet been rigourously defined. For similar reasons, we cannot yet define sets consisting of infinitely many objects, because that would require iterating the axiom of pairwise union infinitely often, and it is 3.

You will find that even though a statement may be "obvious", it may not be easy to prove; the material here will give you plenty of practice in doing so, and in the process will lead you to think about why an obvious statement really is obvious. One skill in particular that you will pick up here is the use of mathematical induction, which is a basic tool in proving things in many areas of mathematics. So in the first few chapters we will re-acquaint you with various number systems that are used in real analysis.

That a+ b is always equal to b +a) without even aware that you are doing so; it is difficult to let go and try to inspect this number system as if it is the first time you have seen it. So in what follows I will have to ask you to perform a rather difficult task: try to set aside, for the moment, everything you know about the natural numbers; forget that you know how to count, to add, to multiply, to manipulate the rules of algebra, etc. We will try to introduce these concepts one at a time and identify explicitly what our assumptions are as we go along- and not allow ourselves to use more "advanced" tricks such as the rules of algebra until we have actually proven them.

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