I've seen the term "setting" or the expression "in this setting" in mathematics books and other sources.

What does it mean?


  1. In this setting, why is the inverse function not continuous?
  2. Is it possible to use linear programming in this setting?
  3. How can I define the set of natural numbers N in this setting, and prove that it is the unique minimal inductive set?
  • setting in that example means environment.
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 26, 2023 at 15:57

1 Answer 1


Mathematics is almost entirely communicated in a technical stipulated vocabulary. Definitions are made and assigned to a particular word and you -must- use the definition, rather than the implications of the ordinary usage. For example, 'normal', 'regular', 'group', 'field', 'if-then', 'domain', 'set' etc etc etc

But a lot of it uses normal everyday words which match the mathematical usage: 'unique', 'the'

And then there are just everyday words which help build up the math.

In these examples, 'in this setting' is in the last category. There's no stipulated definition whose label points to some thin (or nonexistent) metaphor.

It just means what it means in non-mathematical language - 'in this setting' is the general vague 'this is what we're talking about' or 'we've built up some context so far'. There's no specific mathematical sense of 'setting'.

  • 5
    Good answer. We can use the synonym situation in the 3 examples. Commented Dec 26, 2023 at 15:35
  • 3
    I think of it as analogous to the setting of a story or a play.
    – user888379
    Commented Dec 26, 2023 at 15:35

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