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On the Implications of Ababou’s Constant

Max Zhu
2018-05-09
Contents
1 Introduction 3
1.1 Motivation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
1.2 The Natural Numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
1.2.1 Construction of Natural Numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
1.2.2 Arithmetic With Natural Numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
1.2.3 The Natural Numbers Have No End . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
1.3 The numbers have an end (?!) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
1.3.1 Ababou’s Constant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

2 Attempts to Clear Contradictions 6


2.1 Attempt 0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

1
It is necessary to make a scientific revolution to correct the course of math-
ematics based on its theory of Numbers have an end.
-Mohamed Ababou-

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1 Introduction
1.1 Motivation
The majority of people with some interest in mathematics know that the natu-
ral numbers are unbounded, which is to say that the natural numbers have no
“end”. It follows that rational numbers and real numbers also have no end. For
this reason, Mohamed Ababou’s claim that the “numbers have an end” can be
quickly rejected with little thought given. It does not help Ababou’s case that
the majority of his arguments are incoherent, and his diagrams unintelligible.
In fact, there are entire communities dedicated to the mockery of ideas such as
those proposed by Ababou.

In this paper I will first demonstrate that the numbers do not have an end
using a set of fundamental axioms, then I will entertain Ababou’s idea that the
numbers have an end to see what implications this would have. Specifically, this
paper will revolve around these two questions:
Q1. What contradictions, if any, arise from the assertion that numbers have an
end?
Q2. Can this assertion be developed into a consistent system?

1.2 The Natural Numbers


Consider the set of natural numbers, N. It is common knowledge that there is
no largest natural number. Before proving this statement, I will describe the
Peano axioms which define the set N, as well as definitions of a few well known
concepts.

1.2.1 Construction of Natural Numbers


Definition 1.2.1 (Peano Axioms) The Peano axioms are as follows:
(i) 0 is a natural number.
(ii) There is a function S such that for all natural numbers n, S(n) is a natural
number,
(iii) For all natural numbers m and n, m = n iff S(m) = S(n), and
(iv) There is no natural number n such that S(n) = 0.
(v) Let P(n) be a predicate such that P(0) is true and P(n) implies P(S(n)).
Then, P(n) is true for every natural number n.

Remark. Axiom (v) justifies the use of mathematical induction.

Remark. The symbols 1, 2, 3, ... are simply shorthand for S(0), S(S(0)),
S(S(S(0))), ...

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1.2.2 Arithmetic With Natural Numbers
Arithmetic is one of the first things we learn to do with numbers, so let us define
some common arithmetical concepts.

Definition 1.2.2 (Equality) Let m, n, z be natural numbers.


Then, the equality relation (=) has the following properties:
(Reflexive) m = m is true.
(Symmetric) If m = n, then n = m.
(Transitive) If m = n and n = z, then m = z.
(N is closed under equality) If m = n and m is a natural number, then n is a
natural number as well.

Definition 1.2.3 (Addition) Let m, n be natural numbers.


Then, addition (+) defined as follows:

m+0=m
m + S(n) = S(m + n)

Definition 1.2.4 (Subtraction) Let m, n, z be natural numbers. Then, sub-


traction (-) is defined as follows:

m − n = z ⇐⇒ m = n + z

Definition 1.2.5 (Inequalities) Let m, n be natural numbers.


Then, m ≤ n iff there is some natural number z such that m + z = n.
Also, m ≥ n iff n ≤ m.

Remark. If m ≤ n and m ≥ n, then m = n. I will not prove this familiar


property of inequalities here.

Now, we can prove the statement that Ababou rejects.

1.2.3 The Natural Numbers Have No End


Here, “end” means some natural number greater than all other natural numbers.

Lemma 1.2.6 For every natural number n, n is not equal to S(n).

Proof. By induction. Let n be a natural number. Since S(n) = 0 is false by


(iv), therefore S(0) does not equal 0 for the base case.
Suppose n does not equal S(n) for some natural number n. Then, S(n) does not
equal S(S(n)) by (iii).
Therefore by induction, the statement holds. 

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Theorem 1.2.7 There is no natural number n such that m ∈ N =⇒ n ≥ m.

Proof. For contradiction suppose there exists a natural number n such that
m ∈ N =⇒ n ≥ m. Now,

n + 1 = n + S(0) = S(n + 0) = S(n)


This follows from the definition of addition. Thus, n ≤ S(n) by definition.
Also, n ≥ S(n) by hypothesis, so n = S(n). This clearly contradicts our lemma,
so n cannot exist. 

Remark. It easily follows that there is no largest rational or real number. I


will not provide a construction of these types of numbers in this section.

1.3 The numbers have an end (?!)


In spite of numerous proofs to the contrary, Mohamed Ababou continually re-
fuses to accept the fact that numbers do not end, often speaking through broken
English and incomprehensible images. However, it may be interesting to exam-
ine the implications of taking Ababou’s claims at face value. That will be the
goal of the rest of this paper.

1.3.1 Ababou’s Constant


Definition 1.3.1 Define AB to be a natural number such that m ∈ N =⇒
AB ≥ m.

Axiom 1.3.2 (Ababou’s axiom) AB exists.

Since Ababou is so persistent in his claim that the numbers have an end,
it makes sense to define Ababou’s constant, or AB, to be the end of numbers.
Note that the definition merely states that such a constant exists, and makes
no claim on its value.

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2 Attempts to Clear Contradictions
From now on, we will do away with most of the axioms used in the introduction,
and attempt to create a new system which follows Ababou’s axiom.

2.1 Attempt 0
First, we must deal with the fact that Ababou’s axiom blatantly contradicts
theorem 1.2.6. To make our system consistent, we must make changes to the
axioms we used. Let us look at each axiom in turn, see what purpose they
served in the old system, and make the necessary alterations.

(i) 0 is a natural number.

This axiom is necessary to guarantee a nonempty set. We should, however,


modify it to include Ababou’s constant.

(ii) There is a function S such that for all natural numbers n, S(n) is a natural
number,

This axiom is used to represent the notion of “successor” or “next”. We


should keep it as is.

(iii) For all natural numbers m and n, m = n iff S(m) = S(n)

Now we run into a major problem. This axiom was used to prove Lemma
1.2.5, so we need to change it. Let us try placing the restriction that m and n
cannot equal Ababou’s constant.

(iv) There is no natural number n such that S(n) = 0.

This axiom states that 0 is the “first” natural number. There are no problems
here, as long as 0 is not equal to Ababou’s constant.

(v) Let P(n) be a predicate such that P(0) is true and P(n) implies P(S(n)).
Then, P(n) is true for every natural number n.

(vi) S(AB) = AB

Axiom (vi) is a new addition, which states that AB is indeed the end of the
naturals, and that one can’t go beyond it through the successor function. By
axiom (ii) S(AB) must be a natural number, and it makes the most sense to
define it as AB.
Here are our new axioms.

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Definition 2.1.1 (New Peano Axioms) The New Peano axioms are as fol-
lows:
(i) 0 and AB are distinct natural numbers.
(ii) There is a function S such that for all natural numbers n, S(n) is a natural
number,
(iii) For all natural numbers m and n such that neither m nor n are equal to
AB, m = n iff S(m) = S(n),
(iv) There is no natural number n such that S(n) = 0, and
(v) S(AB) = AB
(vi) Let P(n) be a predicate such that P(0) is true and P(n) implies P(S(n)).
Then, P(n) is true for every natural number n.

Let us see how addition works with Ababou’s constant.

Theorem 2.1.2 AB + n = AB for all natural numbers n.

Proof. By induction. AB + 0 = AB by definition for the base case.


Suppose AB + n = AB for some natural number n. Then,

AB + S(n) = S(AB + n) = S(AB) = AB


As required. 

So far so good. Now let us see how Ababou’s constant works with subtrac-
tion.

Theorem 2.1.3 AB - AB = n is true for all natural numbers n.

Proof. Let n be a natural number. By theorem 2.1.2, AB + n = AB. Therefore


by definition of subtraction, AB - AB = n. 

Corollary 2.1.3.1 1 = 2.

Proof. By theorem, AB - AB = 1 = 2. 

Corollary 2.1.3.2 I am Mohamed Ababou.

Proof. Consider the set {Me, Mohamed Ababou}. Clearly, this set contains 2
elements. Since 1 = 2, this set contains 1 element, so me and Mohomed Ababou
must be equal.