|Description: The Null Set Axiom of ZF
set theory: there exists a set with no
elements. Axiom of Empty Set of [Enderton] p. 18. In some textbooks,
this is presented as a separate axiom; here we show it can be derived
from Separation ax-sep 4142. This version of the Null Set Axiom tells us
that at least one empty set exists, but does not tells us that it is
unique - we need the Axiom of Extensionality to do that (see
This proof, suggested by Jeff Hoffman (3-Feb-2008), uses only ax-5 1544
ax-gen 1533 from predicate calculus, which are valid in
"free logic" i.e.
logic holding in an empty domain (see Axiom A5 and Rule R2 of [LeBlanc]
p. 277). Thus our ax-sep 4142 implies the existence of at least one set.
Note that Kunen's version of ax-sep 4142 (Axiom 3 of [Kunen] p. 11) does
not imply the existence of a set because his is universally closed i.e.
prefixed with universal quantifiers to eliminate all free variables.
His existence is provided by a separate axiom stating
(Axiom 0 of [Kunen] p. 10).
See axnulALT 4148 for a proof directly from ax-rep 4132.
This theorem should not be referenced by any proof. Instead, use
ax-nul 4150 below so that the uses of the Null Set Axiom
can be more easily
identified. (Contributed by NM, 7-Aug-2003.) (Revised by NM,
4-Feb-2008.) (New usage is discouraged.)