# Separation relation

In mathematics, a separation relation is a formal way to arrange a set of objects in an unoriented circle. It is defined as a quaternary relation S(a, b, c, d) satisfying certain axioms, which is interpreted as asserting that a and c separate b from d.

Whereas a linear order endows a set with a positive end and a negative end, a separation relation forgets not only which end is which, but also where the ends are located. In this way it is a final, further weakening of the concepts of a betweenness relation and a cyclic order. There is nothing else that can be forgotten: up to the relevant sense of interdefinability, these three relations are the only nontrivial reducts of the ordered set of rational numbers.

## Application

The separation may be used in showing the real projective plane is a complete space. The separation relation was described with axioms in 1898 by Giovanni Vailati.

• {An} is monotonic ≡ ∀ n > 1 $A_{0}A_{n}//A_{1}A_{n+1}.$ • M is a limit ≡ (∀ n > 2 $A_{1}A_{n}//A_{2}M$ ) ∧ (∀ P $A_{1}P//A_{2}M$ ⇒ ∃ n $A_{1}A_{n}//PM$ ).