nLab dream mathematics

Dream mathematics

Dream mathematics


Dream mathematics is an alternative foundation of mathematics first studied (as a piece of metamathematics?) by Robert Solovay. Several ‘ill-behaved’ counterexamples in analysis fail to exist in it.


Dream mathematics is mathematics founded on ZF (or an equivalent structural set theory such as SEAR) with dependent choice and the following axioms (any of which contradict full choice) required of every subset AA of the real line:

A dream universe is any model of dream mathematics. The most well known (and the first known) is the Solovay model.


Solovay proved that dream mathematics is consistent if the existence of an inaccessible cardinal is consistent with ZFC. More precisely, Solovay showed how to construct a model of dream mathematics (now called the Solovay model) from any model of ZFCZFC with an inaccessible cardinal.

Saharon Shelah later showed that one could start with any model of ZFCZFC and construct a model of ZF+DCZF + DC in which every set of reals has the Baire property; on the other hand, Ernst Specker had already shown that an inaccessible cardinal must be consistent if the perfect set property is. Various intermediate consistency results for Lebesgue measurability are also known, but a complete characterisation is still elusive.

François G. Dorais later showed in his answer to Alex Simpson‘s MathOverflow question that BZ+DC+LMBZ + DC + LM proves the consistency of ZFCZFC. It remains unclear whether something similar holds in constructive mathematics (IBZ+DC+LMIBZ + DC + LM) or with weaker choice principles such as countable choice (BZ+CC+LMBZ + CC + LM).


Besides the axioms themselves, other nice properties hold in dream mathematics. Examples include:

All of the above statements are theorems (in ZFZF) for vector spaces with finite dimension (or measure spaces with finite cardinality); dream mathematics makes these true in infinite dimensions as well.


  • Wikipedia (English); Solovay model.

  • HAF; end of Chapter 27.

  • Alex Simpson, François G. Dorais, How strong is “all sets are Lebesgue Measurable” in weaker contexts than ZF? (web)

Last revised on November 16, 2022 at 03:57:20. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.