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SET THEORY AND THE CONTINUUM HYPOTHESIS Paul J. Cohen Stanford University W. A. BENJAMIN, INC. New York 1966 Amsterdam SET THEORY AND THE CONTINUUM HYPOTHESIS Copyright © 1966 by W. A. Benjamin, Inc, All rights reserved Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 66-28664 Manufactured in the United States of America Final copy ready for camera was received from the author on July 21, 1966; this volume was published on September 16, 1966 W. A. Benjamin, Inc, New York, New York 10016 ‘PREFACE The notes that follow are based on a course given at Harvard Uni- versity, Spring 1965. ‘he main objective was to give the proof of the independence of the continuum hypothesis. To keep the course as self- contained as possible we included background material in logic and ax- fomatic set theory as well as an account of GUdel's proof of the con- sistency of the continuum hypothesis. Our review of logic is of necea- sity rather sketchy although we have tried te cover some of the funda- nental concepts such as formal systems, undecidable statements and re- cursive functions. Actually, with the exception of the Idvenheim-Skolem theorem, none of the results of the first chapter are used in the later work and the reader who has had an introductory course in logic may omit this chapter. Its primary purpose is to accustom mathematicians who are not specialists in logic to the strictly precise point of view which is neceasary when dealing with questions in the foundations of mathematics. Also, it ia intended to clarify certain common confusions such as that of the concept of an undecidable statement in a particular axion system with the concept of an unsolvable problem, which concerns methods of computation, Since our very sincere hope is to make these notes intelligible to the large body of non-specialists who are interested in the problem, we have not adopted the very formaiistic style which is to be found in sone textbooks on logic. Rather we have tried to emphasize the intuitive mo- tivations while at the same tine giving es complete proofs as possible. No specific background is assumed, although we occasionally refer to ex- amples from other parts of mathematics, Of course, it would be helpful if the reader were familiar with the development of "naive" set theory as it is customarily taught in courses on real variables or point set topology.