Definition:Existential Quantifier/Unique

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Definition

The symbol $\exists !$ denotes the existence of a unique object fulfilling a particular condition.

$\exists ! x: \map P x$

means:

There exists exactly one object $x$ such that $\map P x$ holds

or:

There exists one and only one $x$ such that $\map P x$ holds.


Formally:

$\exists ! x: \map P x \dashv \vdash \exists x: \map P x \land \forall y: \map P y \implies x = y$


In natural language, this means:

There exists exactly one $x$ with the property $P$
is logically equivalent to:
There exists an $x$ such that $x$ has the property $P$, and for every $y$, $y$ has the property $P$ only if $x$ and $y$ are the same object.


The symbol $\exists !$ is a variant of the existential quantifier $\exists$: there exists at least one.


Also denoted as

The symbol $\exists_1$ is also found for the same concept, being an instance of the exact existential quantifier $\exists_n$.

Some sources, for example 1972: Patrick Suppes: Axiomatic Set Theory, use $\operatorname E !$, which is idiosyncratic, considering the use in the same source of $\exists$ for the general existential quantifier.


Sources