In set theory a set S is Dedekind-infinite if there is a bijective function from S to some proper subset of S, or equivalently if there is an injective function from the natural numbers into S. In the absence of choice, Dedekind-infinite is a stronger condition than merely infinite, where an infinite set is defined as one which does not have a bijective mapping to a finite set--in other words, is not a finite set. Given the axiom of choice, a set is infinite iff it is Dedekind-infinite, but without choice it is consistent that a set could be infinite but not Dedekind-infinite. This can be taken as an argument in favor of AC.

Dedekind used cuts to prove the completeness of the reals without using the axiom of choice (proving the existence of a complete ordered field to be independent of said axiom).

The Dedekind cut resolves the contradiction between the continuous nature of the number line continuum and the discrete nature of the numbers themselves.

The Dedekind cut is named after Richard Dedekind, who invented this construction in order to represent the real numbers as Dedekind cuts of the rational numbers.

Dedekind and Dirichlet soon became close friends and the relationship was in many ways the making of Dedekind, whose mathematical interests took a new lease of life with the discussions between the two.

Dedekind's work was quickly accepted, partly because of the clarity with which he presented his ideas and partly since Heinrich Weber lectured to Hilbert on these topics at the University of Königsberg.

Dedekind's brilliance consisted not only of the theorems and concepts that he studied but, because of his ability to formulate and express his ideas so clearly, he introduced a new style of mathematics that been a major influence on mathematicians ever since.

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