This will be a talk for the CUNY set theory seminar, October 10, 2014, 12pm GC 6417.

**Abstract**. Although the concept of `being definable’ is not generally expressible in the language of set theory, it turns out that the models of ZF in which every definable nonempty set has a definable element are precisely the models of V=HOD. Indeed, V=HOD is equivalent to the assertion merely that every $\Pi_2$-definable set has an ordinal-definable element. Meanwhile, this is not true in the case of $\Sigma_2$-definability, because every model of ZFC has a forcing extension satisfying $V\neq\text{HOD}$ in which every $\Sigma_2$-definable set has an ordinal-definable element.

This is joint work with François G. Dorais and Emil Jeřábek, growing out of some questions and answers on MathOverflow, namely,

- Definable collections without definable members
- A question asked by Ashutosh five years ago, in which François and I gradually came upon the answer together.
- Is it consistent that every definable set has a definable member?
- A similar question asked last week by (anonymous) user38200
- Can $V\neq\text{HOD}$ if every $\Sigma_2$-definable set has an ordinal-definable member?
- A question I had regarding the limits of an issue in my answer to the previous question.

In this talk, I shall present the answers to all these questions and place the results in the context of classical results on definability, including a review of basic concepts for graduate students.