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math771

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Suppose we have a set S consisting of all positive integers plus a "copy" of the element 1: i.e., S={1,1,2,3,4,5,6...}. I have encountered several proofs of basic topological theorems that would say that S is countable. However, something strange happens if we attempt to construct a 1-1 correspondence between S and J. We may either associate with each 1 in S distinct elements of J, in which case 1 will be associated with two different positive integers and the correspondence will not be 1-1. Or we may associate a single element of J with both 1s in S, in which case two elements of S will be associated with a single element of J and the correspondence will not be 1-1.

On the other hand, I'm wondering whether the former method does indeed create a 1-1 correspondence. Perhaps the two 1s can be distinguished from each other so that the element of J associated with one is not necessarily associated with the other. Then again, if S is not ordered, how would one distinguish between the two 1s? (Perhaps this last question is of a more philosophical than mathematical nature and warrants an answer along the lines of "you just do!", but I'll pose it anyway out of curiosity.)

Any advice and/or corrections of my comments would be much appreciated. Thanks!