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Let $A$ and $B$ be sets such that $A\preccurlyeq B$ and $B\preccurlyeq A$. Then $A\approx B$



By hypothesis there exist two injective functions $f:A\rightarrowtail B$ and $g:B\rightarrowtail A$, and we have to proof that there exists a bijective function $h:A\mathbin{\rightarrowtail \hspace{-8pt} \twoheadrightarrow} B$, so that $A\approx B$

First, let's define two sequences of sets: one sequence $(A_n)_{n\in\mathbb{N}}$ of subsets of $A$ and one sequence $(B_n)_{n\in\mathbb{N}}$ of subsets of $B$

$$ \left\{ \begin{array}{rcl} A_0 & = & A \smallsetminus g[B]\\ A_{n+1} & = & g[B_n]\\ \end{array} \right. \qquad\qquad B_n = f[A_n] $$

Now we define $h:A\mathbin{\rightarrowtail \hspace{-8pt} \twoheadrightarrow} B$ as

$$ h(a)= \left\{ \begin{array}{rl} f(a) & \text{if } a\in\bigcup\{A_n\vert n\in\mathbb{N}\}\\ g^{-1}(a) & \text{if } a\in A\smallsetminus\bigcup\{A_n\vert n\in\mathbb{N}\}\\ \end{array} \right. $$



  • $h$ is well-defined: if $a\in A\smallsetminus\bigcup\{A_n\vert n\in\mathbb{N}\}$, then $a\not\in A_0=A\smallsetminus g[B]$, so $a\in g[B]$ and, since $g$ is injective, $g^{-1}(a)$ makes sense

  • $h$ is injective: let $a$, $a'\in A$ be distinct. We distinguish three cases:

    • $a$, $a'\in \bigcup\{A_n\vert n\in\mathbb{N}\}$: $h(a)=f(a)\neq f(a')=h(a')$ because $f$ is injective

    • $a$, $a'\not\in \bigcup\{A_n\vert n\in\mathbb{N}\}$: $h(a)=g^{-1}(a)\neq g^{-1}(a')=h(a')$ because $g$ and $g^{-1}$ are injective

    • $a\in \bigcup\{A_n\vert n\in\mathbb{N}\}$, $a'\not\in \bigcup\{A_n\vert n\in\mathbb{N}\}$: there exists some $n$ such that $a\in A_n$ and $h(a)=f(a)\in f[A_n]=B_n$. But $a'\not\in A_{n+1}$ and $h(a')=g^{-1}(a')$ cannot belong to $B_n$. Therefore, $h(a)\neq h(a')$

  • $\text{im }h=B$: we first note that $B_n=f[A_n]=h[A_n]$, so $B_n\in\text{im }h$ for each $n\in\mathbb{N}$. Now let $b\in B\smallsetminus\bigcup\{B_n\vert n\in\mathbb{N}\}$. $g(b)\in g[B]$, so $g(b)\not\in A_0$, and since $A_{n+1}=g[B_n]$ and $b\not \in B_n$ for any $n\in\mathbb{N}$, it turns out that $g(b)\not\in A_{n+1}$ for $g$ being injective. So $g(b)\not\in\bigcup\{A_n\vert n\in\mathbb{N}\}$, and $h(g(b))=g^{-1}(g(b))=b$, thus $b$ belongs to the image of $h$ and $\text{im }h=B$