Dedekind's proof

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Abstract
In "The Nature and Meaning of Numbers," Dedekind produces an original, quite remarkable proof for the holy grail in the foundations of elementary arithmetic, that there are an infinite number of things. It goes like this. [p, 64 in the Dover edition.] Consider the set S of things which can be objects of my thought. Define the function phi(s), which maps an element s of S to the thought that s can be an object of my thought. Then phi is evidently one-to-one, and the image of phi is contained in S. Indeed, it is properly contained in S, because I myself can be an object of my thoughts and so belong to S, but I myself am not a mere thought. Thus S is infinite.
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Archival date: 2021-10-04
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2009-01-28

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