Concept

Szpilrajn extension theorem

Summary
In order theory, the Szpilrajn extension theorem (also called the order-extension principle), proved by Edward Szpilrajn in 1930, states that every partial order is contained in a total order. Intuitively, the theorem says that any method of comparing elements that leaves some pairs incomparable can be extended in such a way that every pair becomes comparable. The theorem is one of many examples of the use of the axiom of choice in the form of Zorn's lemma to find a maximal set with certain properties. Definitions and statement A binary relation R on a set X is formally defined as a set of ordered pairs (x, y) of elements of X, and (x, y) \in R is often abbreviated as xRy. A relation is reflexive if xRx holds for every element x \in X; it is transitive if xRy \text{ and } yRz imply xRz for all x, y, z \in X; it is antisymmetric if
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