3CANTOR
AND
GÖDEL
REFUTED
the ormal denition o innity which Cantor used as the starting point or hisdevelopment o the subject.It is important to emphasize that the critical issue at the heart o Cantor’streatment o innity is the ability (or inability) to nd a onetoone correspondence(bijection) between two innite sets, thus determining whether or not thecardinality o one set is greater than the cardinality o the other
[
2,5,35
]
. Inthis way, Cantor was able to prove, or the rst time, that the set o rationalnumbers
Q
has the same cardinality as the set o natural numbers
N
, despitehaving a much higher density on the number line
[
2,6,35
]
. The same could besaid o the set o algebraic real numbers
[
6
]
. Accordingly, Cantor coined theterm ‘denumerable’ or all those innite sets which could be put into onetoonecorrespondence with
N
[
2,6,
44
]
.Cantor’s correspondence with Dedekind
[
28
]
shows how the ailure o hisrepeated attempts to establish the denumerability o the set
R
o all real numbers(transcendental as well as algebraic) eventually drove him to contemplate thepossibility o the opposite being true, that is, that the cardinality o
R
(whichCantor named
c
, the power o the continuum) might be greater than thecardinality o
N
(which he named
0
, the rst ‘aleph’). Cantor published the rst
reductio
proo supporting nondenumerability in 874, using the construction o a sequence o nested closed bounded intervals on the real number line, whichallowed him to claim that
c
>
0
[
6
]
.The subsequent development o Cantor’s theory o transnite numbers (ordinaland cardinal) depended entirely on his ability to prove conclusively the existenceo innite sets o ever growing cardinality. His rst assumption was that innitieslarger than
c
would be ound when moving rom the real number line to thetwodimensional plane and, rom there, to higher dimensions. However, Cantor was very surprised to nd this was not the case
[
7,28
]
, as he conded to Dedekindin 877 when he amously wrote “
Je le vois, mais je ne le crois pas
”
[
28
]
.Cantor’s ailure to justiy greater innities (beyond
c
) was nally overcome in89 by the publication o his amous diagonalization argument
[
8,28
]
. This new proo succeeded by extending his previous result o 874 to ever higher innities via the cardinality o the power set
[
8
]
. Cantor’s Theorem, as it was coined in 908by Zermelo when describing his own more settheoretical proo
[
62
]
, states thatthe cardinality o the power set
P
(
A
)
o any set
A
is larger than the cardinalityo set
A
itsel, i.e.
A

<

P
(
A
)
. When applied to
N
, this theorem translates into
N
<
P
(
N
)
(i.e.
0
<
2
0
). Since it is possible to prove that
R
=
P
(
N
)

[
35,
49
]
,the implication is that
c
=
2
0
>
0
, which brings again Cantor’s previous result.The importance o Cantor’s Theorem rests on the act that the application o thesame rule to subsequent sets (starting with
P
(
R
)
=
P
(
P
(
N
))
>
P
(
N
)
, and so on)generates a never ending sequence o larger and larger cardinalities. These werethe higher innities that Cantor had ailed to identiy in dimensions beyond thereal number line
[
7
]
. Cantor’s Theorem makes the existence o power sets anessential ingredient o the oundational principles o set theory, as highlightedby its ormulation among the ZermeloFraenkel (ZF) axioms
[
35,
56
]
.Cantor rst proposed his Continuum Hypothesis (CH) in 878, and spent