Bruno Whittle
University of Wisconsin, Madison
This chapter challenges Cantor’s notion of the ‘power’, or ‘cardinality’, of an infinite set. According to Cantor, two infinite sets have the same cardinality if and only if there is a one-to-one correspondence between them. Cantor showed that there are infinite sets that do not have the same cardinality in this sense. Further, he took this result to show that there are infinite sets of different sizes. This has become the standard understanding of the result. The chapter challenges this, arguing that we have no reason to think there are infinite sets of different sizes. It begins with an initial argument against Cantor’s claim that there are infinite sets of different sizes and then proceeds, by way of an analogy between Cantor’s mathematical result and Russell’s paradox, to a more direct argument.
Keywords Cantor, cardinality, infinite set, power, Russell’s paradox
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DOI 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198729242.003.0001
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In Defense of Countabilism.David Builes & Jessica M. Wilson - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-38.
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