The set-theoretic universe is not necessarily a class-forcing extension of HOD

  • J. D. Hamkins and J. Reitz, “The set-theoretic universe $V$ is not necessarily a class-forcing extension of HOD,” ArXiv e-prints, 2017. (manuscript under review)  
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Abstract. In light of the celebrated theorem of Vopěnka, proving in ZFC that every set is generic over $\newcommand\HOD{\text{HOD}}\HOD$, it is natural to inquire whether the set-theoretic universe $V$ must be a class-forcing extension of $\HOD$ by some possibly proper-class forcing notion in $\HOD$. We show, negatively, that if ZFC is consistent, then there is a model of ZFC that is not a class-forcing extension of its $\HOD$ for any class forcing notion definable in $\HOD$ and with definable forcing relations there (allowing parameters). Meanwhile, S. Friedman (2012) showed, positively, that if one augments $\HOD$ with a certain ZFC-amenable class $A$, definable in $V$, then the set-theoretic universe $V$ is a class-forcing extension of the expanded structure $\langle\HOD,\in,A\rangle$. Our result shows that this augmentation process can be necessary. The same example shows that $V$ is not necessarily a class-forcing extension of the mantle, and the method provides a counterexample to the intermediate model property, namely, a class-forcing extension $V\subseteq V[G]$ by a certain definable tame forcing and a transitive intermediate inner model $V\subseteq W\subseteq V[G]$ with $W\models\text{ZFC}$, such that $W$ is not a class-forcing extension of $V$ by any class forcing notion with definable forcing relations in $V$. This improves upon a previous example of Friedman (1999) by omitting the need for $0^\sharp$.

 

In 1972, Vopěnka proved the following celebrated result.

Theorem. (Vopěnka) If $V=L[A]$ where $A$ is a set of ordinals, then $V$ is a forcing extension of the inner model $\HOD$.

The result is now standard, appearing in Jech (Set Theory 2003, p. 249) and elsewhere, and the usual proof establishes a stronger result, stated in ZFC simply as the assertion: every set is generic over $\HOD$. In other words, for every set $a$ there is a forcing notion $\mathbb{B}\in\HOD$ and a $\HOD$-generic filter $G\subseteq\mathbb{B}$ for which $a\in\HOD[G]\subseteq V$. The full set-theoretic universe $V$ is therefore the union of all these various set-forcing generic extensions $\HOD[G]$.

It is natural to wonder whether these various forcing extensions $\HOD[G]$ can be unified or amalgamated to realize $V$ as a single class-forcing extension of $\HOD$ by a possibly proper class forcing notion in $\HOD$. We expect that it must be a very high proportion of set theorists and set-theory graduate students, who upon first learning of Vopěnka’s theorem, immediately ask this question.

Main Question. Must the set-theoretic universe $V$ be a class-forcing extension of $\HOD$?

We intend the question to be asking more specifically whether the universe $V$ arises as a bona-fide class-forcing extension of $\HOD$, in the sense that there is a class forcing notion $\mathbb{P}$, possibly a proper class, which is definable in $\HOD$ and which has definable forcing relation $p\Vdash\varphi(\tau)$ there for any desired first-order formula $\varphi$, such that $V$ arises as a forcing extension $V=\HOD[G]$ for some $\HOD$-generic filter $G\subseteq\mathbb{P}$, not necessarily definable.

In this article, we shall answer the question negatively, by providing a model of ZFC that cannot be realized as such a class-forcing extension of its $\HOD$.

Main Theorem. If ZFC is consistent, then there is a model of ZFC which is not a forcing extension of its $\HOD$ by any class forcing notion definable in that $\HOD$ and having a definable forcing relation there.

Throughout this article, when we say that a class is definable, we mean that it is definable in the first-order language of set theory allowing set parameters.

The main theorem should be placed in contrast to the following result of Sy Friedman.

Theorem. (Friedman 2012) There is a definable class $A$, which is strongly amenable to $\HOD$, such that the set-theoretic universe $V$ is a generic extension of $\langle \HOD,\in,A\rangle$.

This is a postive answer to the main question, if one is willing to augment $\HOD$ with a class $A$ that may not be definable in $\HOD$. Our main theorem shows that in general, this kind of augmentation process is necessary.

It is natural to ask a variant of the main question in the context of set-theoretic geology.

Question. Must the set-theoretic universe $V$ be a class-forcing extension of its mantle?

The mantle is the intersection of all set-forcing grounds, and so the universe is close in a sense to the mantle, perhaps one might hope that it is close enough to be realized as a class-forcing extension of it. Nevertheless, the answer is negative.

Theorem. If ZFC is consistent, then there is a model of ZFC that does not arise as a class-forcing extension of its mantle $M$ by any class forcing notion with definable forcing relations in $M$.

We also use our results to provide some counterexamples to the intermediate-model property for forcing. In the case of set forcing, it is well known that every transitive model $W$ of ZFC set theory that is intermediate $V\subseteq W\subseteq V[G]$ a ground model $V$ and a forcing extension $V[G]$, arises itself as a forcing extension $W=V[G_0]$.

In the case of class forcing, however, this can fail.

Theorem. If ZFC is consistent, then there are models of ZFC set theory $V\subseteq W\subseteq V[G]$, where $V[G]$ is a class-forcing extension of $V$ and $W$ is a transitive inner model of $V[G]$, but $W$ is not a forcing extension of $V$ by any class forcing notion with definable forcing relations in $V$.

Theorem. If ZFC + Ord is Mahlo is consistent, then one can form such a counterexample to the class-forcing intermediate model property $V\subseteq W\subseteq V[G]$, where $G\subset\mathbb{B}$ is $V$-generic for an Ord-c.c. tame definable complete class Boolean algebra $\mathbb{B}$, but nevertheless $W$ does not arise by class forcing over $V$ by any definable forcing notion with a definable forcing relation.

More complete details, please go to the paper (click through to the arxiv for a pdf).

  • J. D. Hamkins and J. Reitz, “The set-theoretic universe $V$ is not necessarily a class-forcing extension of HOD,” ArXiv e-prints, 2017. (manuscript under review)  
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The hierarchy of second-order set theories between GBC and KM and beyond

This was a talk at the upcoming International Workshop in Set Theory at the Centre International de Rencontres Mathématiques at the Luminy campus in Marseille, France, October 9-13, 2017.

Hierarchy between GBC and KM

Abstract. Recent work has clarified how various natural second-order set-theoretic principles, such as those concerned with class forcing or with proper class games, fit into a new robust hierarchy of second-order set theories between Gödel-Bernays GBC set theory and Kelley-Morse KM set theory and beyond. For example, the principle of clopen determinacy for proper class games is exactly equivalent to the principle of elementary transfinite recursion ETR, strictly between GBC and GBC+$\Pi^1_1$-comprehension; open determinacy for class games, in contrast, is strictly stronger; meanwhile, the class forcing theorem, asserting that every class forcing notion admits corresponding forcing relations, is strictly weaker, and is exactly equivalent to the fragment $\text{ETR}_{\text{Ord}}$ and to numerous other natural principles. What is emerging is a higher set-theoretic analogue of the familiar reverse mathematics of second-order number theory.

Slides

Arithmetic potentialism and the universal algorithm, CUNY Logic Workshop, September 2017

This will be a talk for the CUNY Logic Workshop at the CUNY Graduate Center, September 8, 2017, 2-3:30, room GC 6417.

Empire_State_Building_New_York_March_2015

Abstract. Consider the collection of all the models of arithmetic under the end-extension relation, which forms a potentialist system for arithmetic, a collection of possible arithmetic worlds or universe fragments, with a corresponding potentialist modal semantics. What are the modal validities? I shall prove that every model of arithmetic validates exactly S4 with respect to assertions in the language of arithmetic allowing parameters, but if one considers sentences only (no parameters), then some models can validate up to S5, thereby fulfilling the arithmetic maximality principle, which asserts for a model $M$ that whenever an arithmetic sentence is true in some end-extension of $M$ and all subsequent end-extensions, then it is already true in $M$. (We also consider other accessibility relations, such as arbitrary extensions or $\Sigma_n$-elementary extensions or end-extensions.)

The proof makes fundamental use of what I call the universal algorithm, a fascinating result due to W. Hugh Woodin, asserting that there is a computable algorithm that can in principle enumerate any desired finite sequence, if only it is undertaken in the right universe, and furthermore any given model of arithmetic can be end-extended so as to realize any desired additional behavior for that universal program. I shall give a simple proof of the universal algorithm theorem and explain how it can be used to determine the potentialist validities of a model of arithmetic. This is current joint work in progress with Victoria Gitman and Roman Kossak, and should be seen as an arithmetic analogue of my recent work on set-theoretic potentialism with Øystein Linnebo. The mathematical program is strongly motivated by philosophical ideas arising in the distinction between actual and potential infinity.

 

Inner-model reflection principles

  • N. Barton, A. E. Caicedo, G. Fuchs, J. D. Hamkins, and J. Reitz, “Inner-model reflection principles.” (\href{arXiv:1708.06669}{http://arxiv.org/abs/1708.06669}, manuscript under review)  
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World_Trade_Center,_New_York,_NY,_USA_-_panoramio_(5)

Abstract. We introduce and consider the inner-model reflection principle, which asserts that whenever a statement $\varphi(a)$ in the first-order language of set theory is true in the set-theoretic universe $V$, then it is also true in a proper inner model $W\subsetneq V$. A stronger principle, the ground-model reflection principle, asserts that any such $\varphi(a)$ true in $V$ is also true in some nontrivial ground model of the universe with respect to set forcing. These principles each express a form of width reflection in contrast to the usual height reflection of the Lévy-Montague reflection theorem. They are each equiconsistent with ZFC and indeed $\Pi_2$-conservative over ZFC, being forceable by class forcing while preserving any desired rank-initial segment of the universe. Furthermore, the inner-model reflection principle is a consequence of the existence of sufficient large cardinals, and lightface formulations of the reflection principles follow from the maximality principle MP and from the inner-model hypothesis IMH.

Every set theorist is familiar with the classical Lévy-Montague reflection principle, which explains how truth in the full set-theoretic universe $V$ reflects down to truth in various rank-initial segments $V_\theta$ of the cumulative hierarchy. Thus, the Lévy-Montague reflection principle is a form of height-reflection, in that truth in $V$ is reflected vertically downwards to truth in some $V_\theta$.

In this brief article, in contrast, we should like to introduce and consider a form of width-reflection, namely, reflection to nontrivial inner models. Specifically, we shall consider the following reflection principles.

Definition.

  1. The inner-model reflection principle asserts that if a statement $\varphi(a)$ in the first-order language of set theory is true in the set-theoretic universe $V$, then there is a proper inner model $W$, a transitive class model of ZF containing all ordinals, with $a\in W\subsetneq V$ in which $\varphi(a)$ is true.
  2. The ground-model reflection principle asserts that if $\varphi(a)$ is true in $V$, then there is a nontrivial ground model $W\subsetneq V$ with $a\in W$ and $W\models\varphi(a)$.
  3. Variations of the principles arise by insisting on inner models of a particular type, such as ground models for a particular type of forcing, or by restricting the class of parameters or formulas that enter into the scheme.
  4. The lightface forms of the principles, in particular, make their assertion only for sentences, so that if $\sigma$ is a sentence true in $V$, then $\sigma$ is true in some proper inner model or ground $W$, respectively.

We explain how to force the principles, how to separate them, how they are consequences of various large cardinal assumptions, consequences of the maximality principle and of the inner model hypothesis. Kindly proceed to the article (pdf available at the arxiv) for more. 

  • N. Barton, A. E. Caicedo, G. Fuchs, J. D. Hamkins, and J. Reitz, “Inner-model reflection principles.” (\href{arXiv:1708.06669}{http://arxiv.org/abs/1708.06669}, manuscript under review)  
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This article grew out of an exchange held by the authors on math.stackexchange
in response to an inquiry posted by the first author concerning the nature of width-reflection in comparison to height-reflection:  What is the consistency strength of width reflection?

The modal principles of potentialism in mathematics, Logic and Metaphysics Workshop, CUNY, November 2017

This will be a talk on November 6, 2017 for the Logic and Metaphysics workshop at the CUNY Graduate Center, run by Graham Priest.

Morning_Fog_at_GGB

The modal principles of potentialism in mathematics

Abstract. Potentialism is the view in the philosophy of mathematics that one’s mathematical universe, whether in arithmetic or set theory, is never fully completed, but rather unfolds gradually as new parts of it increasingly come into existence or become accessible or known to us. As in the classical dispute between actual versus potential infinity, the potentialist holds that objects in the upper or outer reaches have potential as opposed to actual existence, in the sense that one can imagine forming or discovering always more objects from that realm, as many as desired, but the task is never completed.  Recent work has emphasized the modal aspect of potentialism, and in this talk, I shall describe a general model-theoretic account of the modal logic of potentialism, identifying specific modal principles that hold or fail depending on features of the potentialist system under consideration. This work makes use of modal control statements, such as buttons, switches, dials and ratchets and the connection of these kinds of statements with the modal theories S4, S4.2, S4.3 and S5. I shall take the various natural kinds of arithmetic and set-theoretic potentialism as illustrative cases.

This is joint work with Øystein Linnebo, University of Oslo (see our paper The modal logic of set-theoretic potentialism and the potentialist maximality principles), and further joint work in progress with Victoria Gitman and Roman Kossak, and very recent joint work in progress with W. Hugh Woodin.

The modal logic of set-theoretic potentialism and the potentialist maximality principles

Joint work with Øystein Linnebo, University of Oslo.

  • J. D. Hamkins and Ø. Linnebo, “The modal logic of set-theoretic potentialism and the potentialist maximality principles.” (manuscript under review)  
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Abstract. We analyze the precise modal commitments of several natural varieties of set-theoretic potentialism, using tools we develop for a general model-theoretic account of potentialism, building on those of Hamkins, Leibman and Löwe (Structural connections between a forcing class and its modal logic), including the use of buttons, switches, dials and ratchets. Among the potentialist conceptions we consider are: rank potentialism (true in all larger $V_\beta$); Grothendieck-Zermelo potentialism (true in all larger $V_\kappa$ for inaccessible cardinals $\kappa$); transitive-set potentialism (true in all larger transitive sets); forcing potentialism (true in all forcing extensions); countable-transitive-model potentialism (true in all larger countable transitive models of ZFC); countable-model potentialism (true in all larger countable models of ZFC); and others. In each case, we identify lower bounds for the modal validities, which are generally either S4.2 or S4.3, and an upper bound of S5, proving in each case that these bounds are optimal. The validity of S5 in a world is a potentialist maximality principle, an interesting set-theoretic principle of its own. The results can be viewed as providing an analysis of the modal commitments of the various set-theoretic multiverse conceptions corresponding to each potentialist account.

Set-theoretic potentialism is the view in the philosophy of mathematics that the universe of set theory is never fully completed, but rather unfolds gradually as parts of it increasingly come into existence or become accessible to us. On this view, the outer reaches of the set-theoretic universe have merely potential rather than actual existence, in the sense that one can imagine “forming” or discovering always more sets from that realm, as many as desired, but the task is never completed. For example, height potentialism is the view that the universe is never fully completed with respect to height: new ordinals come into existence as the known part of the universe grows ever taller. Width potentialism holds that the universe may grow outwards, as with forcing, so that already existing sets can potentially gain new subsets in a larger universe. One commonly held view amongst set theorists is height potentialism combined with width actualism, whereby the universe grows only upward rather than outward, and so at any moment the part of the universe currently known to us is a rank initial segment $V_\alpha$ of the potential yet-to-be-revealed higher parts of the universe. Such a perspective might even be attractive to a Platonistically inclined large-cardinal set theorist, who wants to hold that there are many large cardinals, but who also is willing at any moment to upgrade to a taller universe with even larger large cardinals than had previously been mentioned. Meanwhile, the width-potentialist height-actualist view may be attractive for those who wish to hold a potentialist account of forcing over the set-theoretic universe $V$. On the height-and-width-potentialist view, one views the universe as growing with respect to both height and width. A set-theoretic monist, in contrast, with an ontology having only a single fully existing universe, will be an actualist with respect to both width and height. The second author has described various potentialist views in previous work.

Although we are motivated by the case of set-theoretic potentialism, the potentialist idea itself is far more general, and can be carried out in a general model-theoretic context. For example, the potentialist account of arithmetic is deeply connected with the classical debates surrounding potential as opposed to actual infinity, and indeed, perhaps it is in those classical debates where one finds the origin of potentialism. More generally, one can provide a potentialist account of truth in the context of essentially any kind of structure in any language or theory.

Our project here is to analyze and understand more precisely the modal commitments of various set-theoretic potentialist views.  After developing a general model-theoretic account of the semantics of potentialism and providing tools for establishing both lower and upper bounds on the modal validities for various kinds of potentialist contexts, we shall use those tools to settle exactly the propositional modal validities for several natural kinds of set-theoretic height and width potentialism.

Here is a summary account of the modal logics for various flavors of set-theoretic potentialism.

Flavours of potentialism

In each case, the indicated lower and upper bounds are realized in particular worlds, usually in the strongest possible way that is consistent with the stated inclusions, although in some cases, this is proved only under additional mild technical hypotheses. Indeed, some of the potentialist accounts are only undertaken with additional set-theoretic assumptions going beyond ZFC. For example, the Grothendieck-Zermelo account of potentialism is interesting mainly only under the assumption that there are a proper class of inaccessible cardinals, and countable-transitive-model potentialism is more robust under the assumption that every real is an element of a countable transitive model of set theory, which can be thought of as a mild large-cardinal assumption.

The upper bound of S5, when it is realized, constitutes a potentialist maximality principle, for in such a case, any statement that could possibly become actually true in such a way that it remains actually true as the universe unfolds, is already actually true. We identify necessary and sufficient conditions for each of the concepts of potentialism for a world to fulfill this potentialist maximality principle. For example, in rank-potentialism, a world $V_\kappa$ satisfies S5 with respect to the language of set theory with arbitrary parameters if and only if $\kappa$ is $\Sigma_3$-correct. And it satisfies S5 with respect to the potentialist language of set theory with parameters if and only if it is $\Sigma_n$-correct for every $n$.  Similar results hold for each of the potentialist concepts.

Finally, let me mention the strong affinities between set-theoretic potentialism and set-theoretic pluralism, particularly with the various set-theoretic multiverse conceptions currently in the literature. Potentialists may regard themselves mainly as providing an account of truth ultimately for a single universe, gradually revealed, the limit of their potentialist system. Nevertheless, the universe fragments of their potentialist account can often naturally be taken as universes in their own right, connected by the potentialist modalities, and in this way, every potentialist system can be viewed as a multiverse. Indeed, the potentialist systems we analyze in this article—including rank potentialism, forcing potentialism, generic-multiverse potentialism, countable-transitive-model potentialism, countable-model potentialism—each align with corresponding natural multiverse conceptions. Because of this, we take the results of this article as providing not only an analysis of the modal commitments of set-theoretic potentialism, but also an analysis of the modal commitments of various particular set-theoretic multiverse conceptions. Indeed, one might say that it is possible (ahem), in another world, for this article to have been entitled, “The modal logic of various set-theoretic multiverse conceptions.”

For more, please follow the link to the arxiv where you can find the full article.

  • J. D. Hamkins and Ø. Linnebo, “The modal logic of set-theoretic potentialism and the potentialist maximality principles.” (manuscript under review)  
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The inner-model and ground-model reflection principles, CUNY Set Theory seminar, September 2017

This will be a talk for the CUNY Set Theory seminar on September 1, 2017, 10 am. GC 6417.

World_Trade_Center,_New_York,_NY,_USA_-_panoramio_(5)

Abstract.  The inner model reflection principle asserts that whenever a statement $\varphi(a)$ in the first-order language of set theory is true in the set-theoretic universe $V$, then it is also true in a proper inner model $W\subsetneq V$. A stronger principle, the ground-model reflection principle, asserts that any such $\varphi(a)$ true in $V$ is also true in some nontrivial ground model of the universe with respect to set forcing. Both of these principles, expressing a form of width-reflection in constrast to the usual height-reflection, are equiconsistent with ZFC and an outright consequence of the existence of sufficient large cardinals, as well as a consequence (in lightface form) of the maximality principle and also of the inner-model hypothesis.  This is joint work with Neil Barton, Andrés Eduardo Caicedo, Gunter Fuchs, myself and Jonas Reitz.

Boolean ultrapowers, the Bukovský-Dehornoy phenomenon, and iterated ultrapowers

  • G. Fuchs and J. D. Hamkins, “The Bukovský-Dehornoy phenomenon for Boolean ultrapowers.” (manuscript under review)  
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Abstract. We show that while the length $\omega$ iterated ultrapower by a normal ultrafilter is a Boolean ultrapower by the Boolean algebra of Příkrý forcing, it is consistent that no iteration of length greater than $\omega$ (of the same ultrafilter and its images) is a Boolean ultrapower. For longer iterations, where different ultrafilters are used, this is possible, though, and we give Magidor forcing and a generalization of Příkrý forcing as examples. We refer to the discovery that the intersection of the finite iterates of the universe by a normal measure is the same as the generic extension of the direct limit model by the critical sequence as the Bukovský-Dehornoy phenomenon, and we develop a criterion (the existence of a simple skeleton) for when a version of this phenomenon holds in the context of Boolean ultrapowers.

Second-order transfinite recursion is equivalent to Kelley-Morse set theory over GBC

1167px-Wooden_spiral_stairs_(Nebotičnik,_Ljubljana)_croped
A few years ago, I had observed after hearing a talk by Benjamin Rin that the principle of first-order transfinite recursion for set well-orders is equivalent to the replacement axiom over Zermelo set theory, and thus we may take transfinite recursion as a fundamental set-theoretic principle, one which yields full ZFC when added to Zermelo’s weaker theory (plus foundation).

In later work, Victoria Gitman and I happened to prove that the principle of elementary transfinite recursion ETR, which allows for first-order class recursions along proper class well-orders (not necessarily set-like) is equivalent to the principle of determinacy for clopen class games [1]. Thus, once again, a strong recursion principle exhibited robustness as a fundamental set-theoretic principle.

The theme continued in recent joint work on the class forcing theorem, in which Victoria Gitman, myself, Peter Holy, Philipp Schlicht and Kameryn Williams [2] proved that the principle $\text{ETR}_{\text{Ord}}$, which allows for first-order class recursions of length $\text{Ord}$, is equivalent to twelve natural set-theoretic principles, including the existence of forcing relations for class forcing notions, the existence of Boolean completions for class partial orders, the existence of various kinds of truth predicates for infinitary logics, the existence of $\text{Ord}$-iterated truth predicates, and to the principle of determinacy for clopen class games of rank at most $\text{Ord}+1$.

A few days ago, a MathOverflow question of Alec Rhea’s — Is there a stronger form of recursion? — led me to notice that one naturally gains additional strength by pushing the recursion principles further into second-order set theory.

So let me introduce the second-order recursion principle STR and make the comparatively simple observation that over Gödel-Bernays GBC set theory this is equivalent to Kelley-Morse set theory KM. Thus, we may take this kind of recursion as a fundamental set-theoretic principle.

Definition. In the context of second-order set theory, the principle of second-order transfinite recursion, denoted STR, asserts of any formula $\varphi$ in the second-order language of set theory, that if $\Gamma=\langle I,\leq_\Gamma\rangle$ is any class well-order and $Z$ is any class parameter, then there is a class $S\subset I\times V$ that is a solution of the recursion, in the sense that
$$S_i=\{\ x\ \mid\  \varphi(x,S\upharpoonright i,Z)\ \}$$
for every $i\in I$, where where $S_i=\{\ x\ \mid\ (i,x)\in S\ \}$ is the section on coordinate $i$ and where $S\upharpoonright i=\{\ (j,x)\in S\ \mid\ j<_\Gamma i\ \}$ is the part of the solution at stages below $i$ with respect to $\Gamma$.

Theorem. The principle of second-order transfinite recursion STR is equivalent over GBC to the second-order comprehension principle. In other words, GBC+STR is equivalent to KM.

Proof. Kelley-Morse set theory proves that every second-order recursion has a solution in the same way that ZFC proves that every set-length well-ordered recursion has a solution. Namely, we simply consider the classes which are partial solutions to the recursion, in that they obey the recursive requirement, but possibly only on an initial segment of the well-order $\Gamma$. We may easily show by induction that any two such partial solutions agree on their common domain (this uses second-order comprehension in order to find the least point of disagreement, if any), and we can show that any given partial solution, if not already a full solution, can be extended to a partial solution on a strictly longer initial segment. Finally, we show that the common values of all partial solutions is therefore a solution of the recursion. This final step uses second-order comprehension in order to define what the common values are for the partial solutions to the recursion.

Conversely, the principle of second-order transfinite recursion clearly implies the second-order comprehension axiom, by considering recursions of length one. For any second-order assertion $\varphi$ and class parameter $Z$, we may deduce that $\{x\mid \varphi(x,Z)\}$ is a class, and so the second-order class comprehension principle holds. $\Box$

It is natural to consider various fragments of STR, such as $\Sigma^1_n\text{-}\text{TR}_\Gamma$, which is the assertion that every $\Sigma^1_n$-formula $\varphi$ admits a solution for recursions of length $\Gamma$.  Such principles are provable in proper fragments of KM, since for a given level of complexity, we only need a corresponding fragment of comprehension to undertake the proof that the recursion has a solution. The full STR asserts $\Sigma^1_\omega\text{-}\text{TR}$, allowing any length. The theorem shows that STR is equivalent to recursions of length $1$, since once you get the second-order comprehension principle, then you get solutions for recursions of any length. Thus, with second-order transfinite recursion, a little goes a long way. Perhaps it is more natural to think of transfinite recursion in this context not as axiomatizing KM, since it clearly implies second-order comprehension straight away, but rather as an apparent strengthening of KM that is actually provable in KM. This contrasts with the first-order situation of ETR with respect to GBC, where GBC+ETR does make a proper strengthening of GBC.

    • V. Gitman and J. D. Hamkins, “Open determinacy for class games,” in Foundations of Mathematics, Logic at Harvard, Essays in Honor of Hugh Woodin’s 60th Birthday, A. E. Caicedo, J. Cummings, P. Koellner, and P. Larson, Eds., American Mathematical Society, 2016. (also available as Newton Institute preprint ni15064)  
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    • V. Gitman, J. D. Hamkins, P. Holy, P. Schlicht, and K. Williams, “The exact strength of the class forcing theorem,” ArXiv e-prints, 2017. (manuscript under review)  
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Photo by Petar Milošević (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The exact strength of the class forcing theorem

  • V. Gitman, J. D. Hamkins, P. Holy, P. Schlicht, and K. Williams, “The exact strength of the class forcing theorem,” ArXiv e-prints, 2017. (manuscript under review)  
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    author = {Victoria Gitman and Joel David Hamkins and Peter Holy and Philipp Schlicht and Kameryn Williams},
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Abstract. The class forcing theorem, which asserts that every class forcing notion $\newcommand\P{\mathbb{P}}\P$ admits a forcing relation $\newcommand\forces{\Vdash}\forces_\P$, that is, a relation satisfying the forcing relation recursion — it follows that statements true in the corresponding forcing extensions are forced and forced statements are true — is equivalent over Gödel-Bernays set theory GBC to the principle of elementary transfinite recursion $\newcommand\Ord{\text{Ord}}\newcommand\ETR{\text{ETR}}\ETR_{\Ord}$ for class recursions of length $\Ord$. It is also equivalent to the existence of truth predicates for the infinitary languages $\mathcal{L}_{\Ord,\omega}(\in,A)$, allowing any class parameter $A$; to the existence of truth predicates for the language $\mathcal{L}_{\Ord,\Ord}(\in,A)$; to the existence of $\Ord$-iterated truth predicates for first-order set theory $\mathcal{L}_{\omega,\omega}(\in,A)$; to the assertion that every separative class partial order $\P$ has a set-complete class Boolean completion; to a class-join separation principle; and to the principle of determinacy for clopen class games of rank at most $\Ord+1$. Unlike set forcing, if every class forcing relation $\P$ has a forcing relation merely for atomic formulas, then every such $\P$ has a uniform forcing relation that applies uniformly to all formulas. Our results situate the class forcing theorem in the rich hierarchy of theories between GBC and Kelley-Morse set theory KM.

We shall characterize the exact strength of the class forcing theorem, which asserts that every class forcing notion $\P$ has a corresponding forcing relation $\forces_\P$, a relation satisfying the forcing relation recursion. When there is such a forcing relation, then statements true in any corresponding forcing extension are forced and forced statements are true in those extensions.

Unlike the case of set forcing, where one may prove in ZFC that every set forcing notion has corresponding forcing relations, for class forcing it is consistent with Gödel-Bernays set theory GBC that there is a proper class forcing notion lacking a corresponding forcing relation, even merely for the atomic formulas. For certain forcing notions, the existence of an atomic forcing relation implies Con(ZFC) and much more, and so the consistency strength of the class forcing theorem strictly exceeds GBC, if this theory is consistent. Nevertheless, the class forcing theorem is provable in stronger theories, such as Kelley-Morse set theory. What is the exact strength of the class forcing theorem?

Our project here is to identify the strength of the class forcing theorem by situating it in the rich hierarchy of theories between GBC and KM, displayed in part in the figure above, with the class forcing theorem highlighted in blue. It turns out that the class forcing theorem is equivalent over GBC to an attractive collection of several other natural set-theoretic assertions; it is a robust axiomatic principle.

Hierarchy between GBC and KM

The main theorem is naturally part of the emerging subject we call the reverse mathematics of second-order set theory, a higher analogue of the perhaps more familiar reverse mathematics of second-order arithmetic. In this new research area, we are concerned with the hierarchy of second-order set theories between GBC and KM and beyond, analyzing the strength of various assertions in second-order set theory, such as the principle ETR of elementary transfinite recursion, the principle of $\Pi^1_1$-comprehension or the principle of determinacy for clopen class games. We fit these set-theoretic principles into the hierarchy of theories over the base theory GBC. The main theorem of this article does exactly this with the class forcing theorem by finding its exact strength in relation to nearby theories in this hierarchy.

Main Theorem. The following are equivalent over Gödel-Bernays set theory.

  1. The atomic class forcing theorem: every class forcing notion admits forcing relations for atomic formulas $$p\forces\sigma=\tau\qquad\qquad p\forces\sigma\in\tau.$$
  2. The class forcing theorem scheme: for each first-order formula $\varphi$ in the forcing language, with finitely many class names $\dot \Gamma_i$, there is a forcing relation applicable to this formula and its subformulas
    $$p\forces\varphi(\vec \tau,\dot\Gamma_0,\ldots,\dot\Gamma_m).$$
  3. The uniform first-order class forcing theorem: every class forcing notion $\P$ admits a uniform forcing relation $$p\forces\varphi(\vec \tau),$$ applicable to all assertions $\varphi$ in the first-order forcing language with finitely many class names $\mathcal{L}_{\omega,\omega}(\in,V^\P,\dot\Gamma_0,\ldots,\dot\Gamma_m)$.
  4. The uniform infinitary class forcing theorem: every class forcing notion $\P$ admits a uniform forcing relation $$p\forces\varphi(\vec \tau),$$ applicable to all assertions $\varphi$ in the infinitary forcing language with finitely many class names $\mathcal{L}_{\Ord,\Ord}(\in,V^\P,\dot\Gamma_0,\ldots,\dot\Gamma_m)$.
  5. Names for truth predicates: every class forcing notion $\P$ has a class name $\newcommand\T{{\rm T}}\dot\T$ and a forcing relation for which $1\forces\dot\T$ is a truth-predicate for the first-order forcing language with finitely many class names $\mathcal{L}_{\omega,\omega}(\in,V^\P,\dot\Gamma_0,\ldots,\dot\Gamma_m)$.
  6. Every class forcing notion $\P$, that is, every separative class partial order, admits a Boolean completion $\mathbb{B}$, a set-complete class Boolean algebra into which $\P$ densely embeds.
  7. The class-join separation principle plus $\ETR_{\Ord}$-foundation.
  8. For every class $A$, there is a truth predicate for $\mathcal{L}_{\Ord,\omega}(\in,A)$.
  9. For every class $A$, there is a truth predicate for $\mathcal{L}_{\Ord,\Ord}(\in,A)$.
  10. For every class $A$, there is an $\Ord$-iterated truth predicate for $\mathcal{L}_{\omega,\omega}(\in,A)$.
  11. The principle of determinacy for clopen class games of rank at most $\Ord+1$.
  12. The principle $\ETR_{\Ord}$ of elementary transfinite recursion for $\Ord$-length recursions of first-order properties, using any class parameter.

Implication cycle 12

We prove the theorem by establishing the complete cycle of indicated implications. The red arrows indicate more difficult or substantive implications, while the blue arrows indicate easier or nearly immediate implications. The green dashed implication from statement (12) to statement (1), while not needed for the completeness of the implication cycle, is nevertheless used in the proof that (12) implies (4). The proof of (12) implies (7) also uses (8), which follows from the fact that (12) implies (9) implies (8).

For more, download the paper from the arxiv:

  • V. Gitman, J. D. Hamkins, P. Holy, P. Schlicht, and K. Williams, “The exact strength of the class forcing theorem,” ArXiv e-prints, 2017. (manuscript under review)  
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See also Victoria’s post, Kameryn’s post.

When does every definable nonempty set have a definable element?

  • F. G. Dorais and J. D. Hamkins, “When does every definable nonempty set have a definable element?.” (manuscript under review)  
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    title = {When does every definable nonempty set have a definable element?},
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Abstract. The assertion that every definable set has a definable element is equivalent over ZF to the principle $V=\newcommand\HOD{\text{HOD}}\HOD$, and indeed, we prove, so is the assertion merely that every $\Pi_2$-definable set has an ordinal-definable element. Meanwhile, every model of ZFC has a forcing extension satisfying $V\neq\HOD$ in which every $\Sigma_2$-definable set has an ordinal-definable element. Similar results hold for $\HOD(\mathbb{R})$ and $\HOD(\text{Ord}^\omega)$ and other natural instances of $\HOD(X)$.

It is not difficult to see that the models of ZF set theory in which every definable nonempty set has a definable element are precisely the models of $V=\HOD$. Namely, if $V=\HOD$, then there is a definable well-ordering of the universe, and so the $\HOD$-least element of any definable nonempty set is definable; and conversely, if $V\neq\HOD$, then the set of minimal-rank non-OD sets is definable, but can have no definable element.

In this brief article, we shall identify the limit of this elementary observation in terms of the complexity of the definitions. Specifically, we shall prove that $V=\HOD$ is equivalent to the assertion that every $\Pi_2$-definable nonempty set contains an ordinal-definable element, but that one may not replace $\Pi_2$-definability here by $\Sigma_2$-definability.

Theorem. The following are equivalent in any model $M$ of ZF:

  1. $M$ is a model of $\text{ZFC}+\text{V}=\text{HOD}$.
  2. $M$ thinks there is a definable well-ordering of the universe.
  3. Every definable nonempty set in $M$ has a definable element.
  4. Every definable nonempty set in $M$ has an ordinal-definable element.
  5. Every ordinal-definable nonempty set in $M$ has an ordinal-definable element.
  6. Every $\Pi_2$-definable nonempty set in $M$ has an ordinal-definable element.

Theorem. Every model of ZFC has a forcing extension satisfying $V\neq\HOD$, in which every $\Sigma_2$-definable set has a definable element.

The proof of this latter theorem is reminiscent of several proofs of the maximality principle (see A simple maximality principle), where one undertakes a forcing iteration attempting at each stage to force and then preserve a given $\Sigma_2$ assertion.

This inquiry grew out of a series of questions and answers posted on MathOverflow and the exchange of the authors there.

A model of the generic Vopěnka principle in which the ordinals are not $\Delta_2$-Mahlo

  • V. Gitman and J. D. Hamkins, “A model of the generic Vop\v enka principle in which the ordinals are not $\Delta_2$-Mahlo.” (manuscript under review)  
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Abstract. The generic Vopěnka principle, we prove, is relatively consistent with the ordinals being non-Mahlo. Similarly, the generic Vopěnka scheme is relatively consistent with the ordinals being definably non-Mahlo. Indeed, the generic Vopěnka scheme is relatively consistent with the existence of a $\Delta_2$-definable class containing no regular cardinals. In such a model, there can be no $\Sigma_2$-reflecting cardinals and hence also no remarkable cardinals. This latter fact answers negatively a question of Bagaria, Gitman and Schindler.

 

The Vopěnka principle is the assertion that for every proper class of first-order structures in a fixed language, one of the structures embeds elementarily into another. This principle can be formalized as a single second-order statement in Gödel-Bernays set-theory GBC, and it has a variety of useful equivalent characterizations. For example, the Vopěnka principle holds precisely when for every class $A$, the universe has an $A$-extendible cardinal, and it is also equivalent to the assertion that for every class $A$, there is a stationary proper class of $A$-extendible cardinals (see theorem 6 in my paper The Vopěnka principle is inequivalent to but conservative over the Vopěnka scheme) In particular, the Vopěnka principle implies that ORD is Mahlo: every class club contains a regular cardinal and indeed, an extendible cardinal and more.

To define these terms, recall that a cardinal $\kappa$ is extendible, if for every $\lambda>\kappa$, there is an ordinal $\theta$ and an elementary embedding $j:V_\lambda\to V_\theta$ with critical point $\kappa$. It turns out that, in light of the Kunen inconsistency, this weak form of extendibility is equivalent to a stronger form, where one insists also that $\lambda<j(\kappa)$; but there is a subtle issue about this that comes up with the virtual forms of these axioms, where the virtual weak and virtual strong forms are no longer equivalent. Relativizing to a class parameter, a cardinal $\kappa$ is $A$-extendible for a class $A$, if for every $\lambda>\kappa$, there is an elementary embedding
$$j:\langle V_\lambda, \in, A\cap V_\lambda\rangle\to \langle V_\theta,\in,A\cap V_\theta\rangle$$
with critical point $\kappa$, and again one may equivalently insist also that $\lambda<j(\kappa)$. Every such $A$-extendible cardinal is therefore extendible and hence inaccessible, measurable, supercompact and more. These are amongst the largest large cardinals.

In the first-order ZFC context, set theorists commonly consider a first-order version of the Vopěnka principle, which we call the Vopěnka scheme, the scheme making the Vopěnka assertion of each definable class separately, allowing parameters. That is, the Vopěnka scheme asserts, of every formula $\varphi$, that for any parameter $p$, if $\{\,x\mid \varphi(x,p)\,\}$ is a proper class of first-order structures in a common language, then one of those structures elementarily embeds into another.

The Vopěnka scheme is naturally stratified by the assertions $\text{VP}(\Sigma_n)$, for the particular natural numbers $n$ in the meta-theory, where $\text{VP}(\Sigma_n)$ makes the Vopěnka assertion for all $\Sigma_n$-definable classes. Using the definable $\Sigma_n$-truth predicate, each assertion $\text{VP}(\Sigma_n)$ can be expressed as a single first-order statement in the language of set theory.

In my previous paper, The Vopěnka principle is inequivalent to but conservative over the Vopěnka scheme, I proved that the Vopěnka principle is not provably equivalent to the Vopěnka scheme, if consistent, although they are equiconsistent over GBC and furthermore, the Vopěnka principle is conservative over the Vopěnka scheme for first-order assertions. That is, over GBC the two versions of the Vopěnka principle have exactly the same consequences in the first-order language of set theory.

In this article, Gitman and I are concerned with the virtual forms of the Vopěnka principles. The main idea of virtualization, due to Schindler, is to weaken elementary-embedding existence assertions to the assertion that such embeddings can be found in a forcing extension of the universe. Gitman and Schindler had emphasized that the remarkable cardinals, for example, instantiate the virtualized form of supercompactness via the Magidor characterization of supercompactness. This virtualization program has now been undertaken with various large cardinals, leading to fruitful new insights.

Carrying out the virtualization idea with the Vopěnka principles, we define the generic Vopěnka principle to be the second-order assertion in GBC that for every proper class of first-order structures in a common language, one of the structures admits, in some forcing extension of the universe, an elementary embedding into another. That is, the structures themselves are in the class in the ground model, but you may have to go to the forcing extension in order to find the elementary embedding.

Similarly, the generic Vopěnka scheme, introduced by Bagaria, Gitman and Schindler, is the assertion (in ZFC or GBC) that for every first-order definable proper class of first-order structures in a common language, one of the structures admits, in some forcing extension, an elementary embedding into another.

On the basis of their work, Bagaria, Gitman and Schindler had asked the following question:

Question. If the generic Vopěnka scheme holds, then must there be a proper class of remarkable cardinals?

There seemed good reason to expect an affirmative answer, even assuming only $\text{gVP}(\Sigma_2)$, based on strong analogies with the non-generic case. Specifically, in the non-generic context Bagaria had proved that $\text{VP}(\Sigma_2)$ was equivalent to the existence of a proper class of supercompact cardinals, while in the virtual context, Bagaria, Gitman and Schindler proved that the generic form $\text{gVP}(\Sigma_2)$ was equiconsistent with a proper class of remarkable cardinals, the virtual form of supercompactness. Similarly, higher up, in the non-generic context Bagaria had proved that $\text{VP}(\Sigma_{n+2})$ is equivalent to the existence of a proper class of $C^{(n)}$-extendible cardinals, while in the virtual context, Bagaria, Gitman and Schindler proved that the generic form $\text{gVP}(\Sigma_{n+2})$ is equiconsistent with a proper class of virtually $C^{(n)}$-extendible cardinals.

But further, they achieved direct implications, with an interesting bifurcation feature that specifically suggested an affirmative answer to the question above. Namely, what they showed at the $\Sigma_2$-level is that if there is a proper class of remarkable cardinals, then $\text{gVP}(\Sigma_2)$ holds, and conversely if $\text{gVP}(\Sigma_2)$ holds, then there is either a proper class of remarkable cardinals or a proper class of virtually rank-into-rank cardinals. And similarly, higher up, if there is a proper class of virtually $C^{(n)}$-extendible cardinals, then $\text{gVP}(\Sigma_{n+2})$ holds, and conversely, if $\text{gVP}(\Sigma_{n+2})$ holds, then either there is a proper class of virtually $C^{(n)}$-extendible cardinals or there is a proper class of virtually rank-into-rank cardinals. So in each case, the converse direction achieves a disjunction with the target cardinal and the virtually rank-into-rank cardinals. But since the consistency strength of the virtually rank-into-rank cardinals is strictly stronger than the generic Vopěnka principle itself, one can conclude on consistency-strength grounds that it isn’t always relevant, and for this reason, it seemed natural to inquire whether this second possibility in the bifurcation could simply be removed. That is, it seemed natural to expect an affirmative answer to the question, even assuming only $\text{gVP}(\Sigma_2)$, since such an answer would resolve the bifurcation issue and make a tighter analogy with the corresponding results in the non-generic/non-virtual case.

In this article, however, we shall answer the question negatively. The details of our argument seem to suggest that a robust analogy with the non-generic/non-virtual principles is achieved not with the virtual $C^{(n)}$-cardinals, but with a weakening of that property that drops the requirement that $\lambda<j(\kappa)$. Indeed, our results seems to offer an illuminating resolution of the bifurcation aspect of the results we mentioned from Bagaria, Gitmand and Schindler, because it provides outright virtual large-cardinal equivalents of the stratified generic Vopěnka principles. Because the resulting virtual large cardinals are not necessarily remarkable, however, our main theorem shows that it is relatively consistent with even the full generic Vopěnka principle that there are no $\Sigma_2$-reflecting cardinals and therefore no remarkable cardinals.

Main Theorem.

  1. It is relatively consistent that GBC and the generic Vopěnka principle holds, yet ORD is not Mahlo.
  2. It is relatively consistent that ZFC and the generic Vopěnka scheme holds, yet ORD is not definably Mahlo, and not even $\Delta_2$-Mahlo. In such a model, there can be no $\Sigma_2$-reflecting cardinals and therefore also no remarkable cardinals.

For more, go to the arcticle:

  • V. Gitman and J. D. Hamkins, “A model of the generic Vop\v enka principle in which the ordinals are not $\Delta_2$-Mahlo.” (manuscript under review)  
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The universal definition — it can define any mathematical object you like, in the right set-theoretic universe

Alex_wong_2015_(Unsplash) (1)In set theory, we have the phenomenon of the universal definition. This is a property $\phi(x)$, first-order expressible in the language of set theory, that necessarily holds of exactly one set, but which can in principle define any particular desired set that you like, if one should simply interpret the definition in the right set-theoretic universe. So $\phi(x)$ could be defining the set of real numbes $x=\mathbb{R}$ or the integers $x=\mathbb{Z}$ or the number $x=e^\pi$ or a certain group or a certain topological space or whatever set you would want it to be. For any mathematical object $a$, there is a set-theoretic universe in which $a$ is the unique object $x$ for which $\phi(x)$.

The universal definition can be viewed as a set-theoretic analogue of the universal algorithm, a topic on which I have written several recent posts:

Let’s warm up with the following easy instance.

Theorem. Any particular real number $r$ can become definable in a forcing extension of the universe.

Proof. By Easton’s theorem, we can control the generalized continuum hypothesis precisely on the regular cardinals, and if we start (by forcing if necessary) in a model of GCH, then there is a forcing extension where $2^{\aleph_n}=\aleph_{n+1}$ just in case the $n^{th}$ binary digit of $r$ is $1$. In the resulting forcing extension $V[G]$, therefore, the real $r$ is definable as: the real whose binary digits conform with the GCH pattern on the cardinals $\aleph_n$. QED

Since this definition can be settled in a rank-initial segment of the universe, namely, $V_{\omega+\omega}$, the complexity of the definition is $\Delta_2$. See my post on Local properties in set theory to see how I think about locally verifiable and locally decidable properties in set theory.

If we push the argument just a little, we can go beyond the reals.

Theorem. There is a formula $\psi(x)$, of complexity $\Sigma_2$, such that for any particular object $a$, there is a forcing extension of the universe in which $\psi$ defines $a$.

Proof. Fix any set $a$. By the axiom of choice, we may code $a$ with a set of ordinals $A\subset\kappa$ for some cardinal $\kappa$. (One well-orders the transitive closure of $\{a\}$ and thereby finds a bijection $\langle\mathop{tc}(\{a\}),\in\rangle\cong\langle\kappa,E\rangle$ for some $E\subset\kappa\times\kappa$, and then codes $E$ to a set $A$ by an ordinal pairing function. The set $A$ tells you $E$, which tells you $\mathop{tc}(\{a\})$ by the Mostowski collapse, and from this you find $a$.) By Easton’s theorem, there is a forcing extension $V[G]$ in which the GCH holds at all $\aleph_{\lambda+1}$ for a limit ordinal $\lambda<\kappa$, but fails at $\aleph_{\kappa+1}$, and such that $\alpha\in A$ just in case $2^{\alpha_{\alpha+2}}=\aleph_{\alpha+3}$ for $\alpha<\kappa$. That is, we manipulate the GCH pattern to exactly code both $\kappa$ and the elements of $A\subset\kappa$. Let $\phi(x)$ assert that $x$ is the set that is decoded by this process: look for the first stage where the GCH fails at $\aleph_{\lambda+2}$, and then extract the set $A$ of ordinals, and then check if $x$ is the set coded by $A$. The assertion $\phi(x)$ did not depend on $a$, and since it can be verified in any sufficiently large $V_\theta$, the assertion $\phi(x)$ has complexity $\Sigma_2$. QED

Let’s try to make a better universal definition. As I mentioned at the outset, I have been motivated to find a set-theoretic analogue of the universal algorithm, and in that computable context, we had a universal algorithm that could not only produce any desired finite set, when run in the right universe, but which furthermore had a robust interaction between models of arithmetic and their top-extensions: any set could be extended to any other set for which the algorithm enumerated it in a taller universe. Here, I’d like to achieve the same robustness of interaction with the universal definition, as one moves from one model of set theory to a taller model. We say that one model of set theory $N$ is a top-extension of another $M$, if all the new sets of $N$ have rank totally above the ranks occuring in $M$. Thus, $M$ is a rank-initial segment of $N$. If there is a least new ordinal $\beta$ in $N\setminus M$, then this is equivalent to saying that $M=V_\beta^N$.

Theorem. There is a formula $\phi(x)$, such that

  1. In any model of ZFC, there is a unique set $a$ satisfying $\phi(a)$.
  2. For any countable model $M\models\text{ZFC}$ and any $a\in M$, there is a top-extension $N$ of $M$ such that $N\models \phi(a)$.

Thus, $\phi(x)$ is the universal definition: it always defines some set, and that set can be any desired set, even when moving from a model $M$ to a top-extension $N$.

Proof. The previous manner of coding will not achieve property 2, since the GCH pattern coding started immediately, and so it would be preserved to any top extension. What we need to do is to place the coding much higher in the universe, so that in the top extension $N$, it will occur in the part of $N$ that is totally above $M$.

But consider the following process. In any model of set theory, let $\phi(x)$ assert that $x$ is the empty set unless the GCH holds at all sufficiently large cardinals, and indeed $\phi(x)$ is false unless there is a cardinal $\delta$ and ordinal $\gamma<\delta^+$ such that the GCH holds at all cardinals above $\aleph_{\delta+\gamma}$. In this case, let $\delta$ be the smallest such cardinal for which that is true, and let $\gamma$ be the smallest ordinal working with this $\delta$. So both $\delta$ and $\gamma$ are definable. Now, let $A\subset\gamma$ be the set of ordinals $\alpha$ for which the GCH holds at $\aleph_{\delta+\alpha+1}$, and let $\phi(x)$ assert that $x$ is the set coded by the set $A$.

It is clear that $\phi(x)$ defines a unique set, in any model of ZFC, and so (1) holds. For (2), suppose that $M$ is a countable model of ZFC and $a\in M$. It is a fact that every countable model of ZFC has a top-extension, by the definable ultrapower method. Let $N_0$ be a top extension of $M$. Let $N=N_0[G]$ be a forcing extension of $N_0$ in which the set $a$ is coded into the GCH pattern very high up, at cardinals totally above $M$, and such that the GCH holds above this coding, in such a way that the process described in the previous paragraph would define exactly the set $a$. So $\phi(a)$ holds in $N$, which is a top-extension of $M$ as no new sets of small rank are added by the forcing. So statement (2) also holds. QED

The complexity of the definition is $\Pi_3$, mainly because in order to know where to look for the coding, one needs to know the ordinals $\delta$ and $\gamma$, and so one needs to know that the GCH always holds above that level. This is a $\Pi_3$ property, since it cannot be verified locally only inside some $V_\theta$.

A stronger analogue with the universal algorithm — and this is a question that motivated my thinking about this topic — would be something like the following:

Question. Is there is a $\Sigma_2$ formula $\varphi(x)$, that is, a locally verifiable property, with the following properties?

  1. In any model of ZFC, the class $\{x\mid\varphi(x)\}$ is a set.
  2. It is consistent with ZFC that $\{x\mid\varphi(x)\}$ is empty.
  3. In any countable model $M\models\text{ZFC}$ in which $\{x\mid\varphi(x)\}=a$ and any set $b\in M$ with $a\subset b$, then there is a top-extension $N$ of $M$ in which $\{x\mid\varphi(x)\}=b$.

An affirmative answer would be a very strong analogue with the universal algorithm and Woodin’s theorem about which I wrote previously. The idea is that the $\Sigma_2$ properties $\varphi(x)$ in set theory are analogous to the computably enumerable properties in computability theory. Namely, to verify that an object has a certain computably enumerable property, we run a particular computable process and then sit back, waiting for the process to halt, until a stage of computation arrives at which the property is verified. Similarly, in set theory, to verify that a set has a particular $\Sigma_2$ property, we sit back watching the construction of the cumulative set-theoretic universe, until a stage $V_\beta$ arrives that provides verification of the property. This is why in statement (3) we insist that $a\subset b$, since the $\Sigma_2$ properties are always upward absolute to top-extensions; once an object is placed into $\{x\mid\varphi(x)\}$, then it will never be removed as one makes the universe taller.

So the hope was that we would be able to find such a universal $\Sigma_2$ definition, which would serve as a set-theoretic analogue of the universal algorithm used in Woodin’s theorem.

If one drops the first requirement, and allows $\{x\mid \varphi(x)\}$ to sometimes be a proper class, then one can achieve a positive answer as follows.

Theorem. There is a $\Sigma_2$ formula $\varphi(x)$ with the following properties.

  1. If the GCH holds, then $\{x\mid\varphi(x)\}$ is empty.
  2. For any countable model $M\models\text{ZFC}$ where $a=\{x\mid \varphi(x)\}$ and any $b\in M$ with $a\subset b$, there is a top extension $N$ of $M$ in which $N\models\{x\mid\varphi(x)\}=b$.

Proof. Let $\varphi(x)$ assert that the set $x$ is coded into the GCH pattern. We may assume that the coding mechanism of a set is marked off by certain kinds of failures of the GCH at odd-indexed alephs, with the pattern at intervening even-indexed regular cardinals forming the coding pattern.  This is $\Sigma_2$, since any large enough $V_\theta$ will reveal whether a given set $x$ is coded in this way. And because of the manner of coding, if the GCH holds, then no set is coded. Also, if the GCH holds eventually, then only a set-sized collection is coded. Finally, any countable model $M$ where only a set is coded can be top-extended to another model $N$ in which any desired superset of that set is coded. QED

Update.  Originally, I had proposed an argument for a negative answer to the question, and I was actually a bit disappointed by that, since I had hoped for a positive answer. However, it now seems to me that the argument I had written is wrong, and I am grateful to Ali Enayat for his remarks on this in the comments. I have now deleted the incorrect argument.

Meanwhile, here is a positive answer to the question in the case of models of $V\neq\newcommand\HOD{\text{HOD}}\HOD$.

Theorem. There is a $\Sigma_2$ formula $\varphi(x)$ with the following properties:

  1. In any model of $\newcommand\ZFC{\text{ZFC}}\ZFC+V\neq\HOD$, the class $\{x\mid\varphi(x)\}$ is a set.
  2. It is relatively consistent with $\ZFC$ that $\{x\mid\varphi(x)\}$ is empty; indeed, in any model of $\ZFC+\newcommand\GCH{\text{GCH}}\GCH$, the class $\{x\mid\varphi(x)\}$ is empty.
  3. If $M\models\ZFC$ thinks that $a=\{x\mid\varphi(x)\}$ is a set and $b\in M$ is a larger set $a\subset b$, then there is a top-extension $N$ of $M$ in which $\{x\mid \varphi(x)\}=b$.

Proof. Let $\varphi(x)$ hold, if there is some ordinal $\alpha$ such that every element of $V_\alpha$ is coded into the GCH pattern below some cardinal $\delta_\alpha$, with $\delta_\alpha$ as small as possible with that property, and $x$ is the next set coded into the GCH pattern above $\delta_\alpha$. This is a $\Sigma_2$ property, since it can be verified in any sufficiently large $V_\theta$.

In any model of $\ZFC+V\neq\HOD$, there must be some sets that are no coded into the $\GCH$ pattern, for if every set is coded that way then there would be a definable well-ordering of the universe and we would have $V=\HOD$. So in any model of $V\neq\HOD$, there is a bound on the ordinals $\alpha$ for which $\delta_\alpha$ exists, and therefore $\{x\mid\varphi(x)\}$ is a set. So statement (1) holds.

Statement (2) holds, because we may arrange it so that the GCH itself implies that no set is coded at all, and so $\varphi(x)$ would always fail.

For statement (3), suppose that $M\models\ZFC+\{x\mid\varphi(x)\}=a\subseteq b$ and $M$ is countable. In $M$, there must be some minimal rank $\alpha$ for which there is a set of rank $\alpha$ that is not coded into the GCH pattern. Let $N$ be an elementary top-extension of $M$, so $N$ agrees that $\alpha$ is that minimal rank. Now, by forcing over $N$, we can arrange to code all the sets of rank $\alpha$ into the GCH pattern above the height of the original model $M$, and we can furthermore arrange so as to code any given element of $b$ just above that coding. And so on, we can iterate it so as to arrange the coding above the height of $M$ so that exactly the elements of $b$ now satisfy $\varphi(x)$, but no more. In this way, we will ensure that $N\models\{x\mid\varphi(x)\}=b$, as desired. QED

I find the situation unusual, in that often results from the models-of-arithmetic context generalize to set theory with models of $V=\HOD$, because the global well-order means that models of $V=\HOD$ have definable Skolem functions, which is true in every model of arithmetic and which sometimes figures implicitly in constructions. But here, we have the result of Woodin’s theorem generalizing from models of arithmetic to models of $V\neq\HOD$.  Perhaps this suggests that we should expect a fully positive solution for models of set theory.

The universal algorithm: a new simple proof of Woodin’s theorem

This is the third in a series of posts I’ve made recently concerning what I call the universal algorithm, which is a program that can in principle compute any function, if only you should run it in the right universe. Earlier, I had presented a few elementary proofs of this surprising theorem: see Every function can be computable! and A program that accepts exactly any desired finite set, in the right universe.

$\newcommand\PA{\text{PA}}$Those arguments established the universal algorithm, but they fell short of proving Woodin’s interesting strengthening of the theorem, which explains how the universal algorithm can be extended from any arithmetic universe to a larger one, in such a way so as to extend the given enumerated sequence in any desired manner. Woodin emphasized how his theorem raises various philosophical issues about the absoluteness or rather the non-absoluteness of finiteness, which I find extremely interesting.

Woodin’s proof, however, is a little more involved than the simple arguments I provided for the universal algorithm alone. Please see the paper Blanck, R., and Enayat, A. Marginalia on a theorem of Woodin, The Journal of Symbolic Logic, 82(1), 359-374, 2017. doi:10.1017/jsl.2016.8 for a further discussion of Woodin’s argument and related results.

What I’ve recently discovered, however, is that in fact one can prove Woodin’s stronger version of the theorem using only the method of the elementary argument. This variation also allows one to drop the countability requirement on the models, as was done by Blanck and Enayat. My thinking on this argument was greatly influenced by a comment of Vadim Kosoy on my original post.

It will be convenient to adopt an enumeration model of Turing computability, by which we view a Turing machine program as providing a means to computably enumerate a list of numbers. We start the program running, and it generates a list of numbers, possibly finite, possibly infinite, possibly empty, possibly with repetition. This way of using Turing machines is fully Turing equivalent to the usual way, if one simply imagines enumerating input/output pairs so as to code any given computable partial function.

Theorem.(Woodin) There is a Turing machine program $e$ with the following properties.

  1. $\PA$ proves that $e$ enumerates a finite sequence of numbers.
  2. For any finite sequence $s$, there is a model $M$ of $\PA$ in which program $e$ enumerates exactly $s$.
  3. For any model $M$ in which $e$ enumerates a (possibly nonstandard) sequence $s$ and any $t\in M$ extending $s$, there is an end-extension $N$ of $M$ in which $e$ enumerates exactly $t$.

It is statement (3) that makes this theorem stronger than merely the universal algorithm that I mentioned in my earlier posts and which I find particularly to invite philosophical speculation on the provisional nature of finiteness. After all, if in one universe the program $e$ enumerates a finite sequence $s$, then for any $t$ extending $s$ — we might imagine having painted some new pattern $t$ on top of $s$ — there is a taller universe in which $e$ enumerates exactly $t$. So we need only wait long enough (into the next universe), and then our program $e$ will enumerate exactly the sequence $t$ we had desired.

Proof. This is the new elementary proof.  Let’s begin by recalling the earlier proof of the universal algorithm, for statements (1) and (2) only. Namely, let $e$ be the program that undertakes a systematic exhaustive search through all proofs from $\PA$ for a proof of a statement of the form, “program $e$ does not enumerate exactly the sequence $s$,” where $s$ is an explicitly listed finite sequence of numbers. Upon finding such a proof (the first such proof found), it proceeds to enumerate exactly the numbers appearing in $s$.  Thus, at bottom, the program $e$ is a petulant child: it searches for a proof that it shouldn’t behave in a certain way, and then proceeds at once to behave in exactly the forbidden manner.

(The reader may notice an apparent circularity in the definition of program $e$, since we referred to $e$ when defining $e$. But this is no problem at all, and it is a standard technique in computability theory to use the Kleene recursion theorem to show that this kind of definition is completely fine. Namely, we really define a program $f(e)$ that performs that task, asking about $e$, and then by the recursion theorem, there is a program $e$ such that $e$ and $f(e)$ compute the same function, provably so. And so for this fixed-point program $e$, it is searching for proofs about itself.)

It is clear that the program $e$ will enumerate a finite list of numbers only, since either it never finds the sought-after proof, in which case it enumerates nothing, and the empty sequence is finite, or else it does find a proof, in which case it enumerates exactly the finitely many numbers explicitly appearing in the statement that was proved. So $\PA$ proves that in any case $e$ enumerates a finite list. Further, if $\PA$ is consistent, then you will not be able to refute any particular finite sequence being enumerated by $e$, because if you could, then (for the smallest such instance) the program $e$ would in fact enumerate exactly those numbers, and this would be provable, contradicting $\text{Con}(\PA)$. Precisely because you cannot refute that statement, it follows that the theory $\PA$ plus the assertion that $e$ enumerates exactly $s$ is consistent, for any particular $s$. So there is a model $M$ of $\PA$ in which program $e$ enumerates exactly $s$. This establishes statements (1) and (2) for this program.

Let me now modify the program in order to achieve the key third property. Note that the program described above definitely does not have property (3), since once a nonempty sequence $s$ is enumerated, then the program is essentially finished, and so running it in a taller universe $N$ will not affect the sequence it enumerates. To achieve (3), therefore, we modify the program by allowing it to add more to the sequence.

Specfically, for the new modified version of the program $e$, we start as before by searching for a proof in $\PA$ that the list enumerated by $e$ is not exactly some explicitly listed finite sequence $s$. When this proof is found, then $e$ immediately enumerates the numbers appearing in $s$. Next, it inspects the proof that it had found. Since the proof used only finitely many $\PA$ axioms, it is therefore a proof from a certain fragment $\PA_n$, the $\Sigma_n$ fragment of $\PA$. Now, the algorithm $e$ continues by searching for a proof in a strictly smaller fragment that program $e$ does not enumerate exactly some explicitly listed sequence $t$ properly extending the sequence of numbers already enumerated. When such a proof is found, it then immediately enumerates (the rest of) those numbers. And now simply iterate this, looking for new proofs in still-smaller fragments of $\PA$ that a still-longer extension is not the sequence enumerated by $e$.

Succinctly: the program $e$ searches for a proof, in a strictly smaller fragment of $\PA$ each time, that $e$ does not enumerate exactly a certain explicitly listed sequence $s$ extending whatever has been already enumerated so far, and when found, it enumerates those new elements, and repeats.

We can still prove in $\PA$ that $e$ enumerates a finite sequence, since the fragment of $\PA$ that is used each time is going down, and $\PA$ proves that this can happen only finitely often. So statement (1) holds.

Again, you cannot refute that any particular finite sequence $s$ is the sequence enumerated by $e$, since if you could do this, then in the standard model, the program would eventually find such a proof, and then perhaps another and another, until ultimately, it would find some last proof that $e$ does not enumerate exactly some finite sequence $t$, at which time the program will have enumerated exactly $t$ and never afterward add to it. So that proof would have proved a false statement. This is a contradiction, since that proof is standard.

So again, precisely because you cannot refute these statements, it follows that it is consistent with $\PA$ that program $e$ enumerates exactly $s$, for any particular finite $s$. So statement (2) holds.

Finally, for statement (3), suppose that $M$ is a model of $\PA$ in which $e$ enumerates exactly some finite sequence $s$. If $s$ is the empty sequence, then $M$ thinks that there is no proof in $\PA$ that $e$ does not enumerate exactly $t$, for any particular $t$. And so it thinks the theory $\PA+$ “$e$ enumerates exactly $t$” is consistent. So in $M$ we may build the Henkin model $N$ of this theory, which is an end-extension of $M$ in which $e$ enumerates exactly $t$, as desired.

If alternatively $s$ was nonempty, then it was enumerated by $e$ in $M$ because in $M$ there was ultimately a proof in some fragment $\PA_n$ that it should not do so, but it never found a corresponding proof about an extension of $s$ in any strictly smaller fragment of $\PA$.  So $M$ has a proof from $\PA_n$ that $e$ does not enumerate exactly $s$, even though it did.

Notice that $n$ must be nonstandard, because $M$ has a definable $\Sigma_k$-truth predicate for every standard $k$, and using this predicate, $M$ can see that every $\PA_k$-provable statement must be true.

Precisely because the model $M$ lacked the proofs from the strictly smaller fragment $\PA_{n-1}$, it follows that for any particular finite $t$ extending $s$ in $M$, the model thinks that the theory $T=\PA_{n-1}+$ “$e$ enumerates exactly $t$” is consistent. Since $n$ is nonstandard, this theory includes all the actual $\PA$ axioms. In $M$ we can build the Henkin model $N$ of this theory, which will be an end-extension of $M$ in which $\PA$ holds and program $e$ enumerates exactly $t$, as desired for statement (3). QED

Corollary. Let $e$ be the universal algorithm program $e$ of the theorem. Then

  1. For any infinite sequence $S:\mathbb{N}\to\mathbb{N}$, there is a model $M$ of $\PA$ in which program $e$ enumerates a (nonstandard finite) sequence starting with $S$.
  2. If $M$ is any model of $\PA$ in which program $e$ enumerates some (possibly nonstandard) finite sequence $s$, and $S$ is any $M$-definable infinite sequence extending $s$, then there is an end-extension of $M$ in which $e$ enumerates a sequence starting with $S$.

Proof. (1) Fix $S:\mathbb{N}\to\mathbb{N}$. By a simple compactness argument, there is a model $M$ of true arithmetic in which the sequence $S$ is the standard part of some coded nonstandard finite sequence $t$. By the main theorem, there is some end-extension $M^+$ of $M$ in which $e$ enumerates $t$, which extends $S$, as desired.

(2) If $e$ enumerates $s$ in $M$, a model of $\PA$, and $S$ is an $M$-infinite sequence definable in $M$, then by a compactness argument inside $M$, we can build a model $M’$ inside $M$ in which $S$ is coded by an element, and then apply the main theorem to find a further end-extension $M^+$ in which $e$ enumerates that element, and hence which enumerates an extension of $S$. QED

Kaethe Lynn Bruesselbach Minden, PhD 2017, CUNY Graduate Center

Kaethe Lynn Bruesselbach Minden successfully defended her dissertation on April 7, 2017 at the CUNY Graduate Center, under the supervision of Professor Gunter Fuchs. I was a member of the dissertation committee, along with Arthur Apter.

Her defense was impressive!  She was a master of the entire research area, ready at hand with the technical details to support her account of any topic that arose.

Kaethe Minden + sloth

math blognylogic profilear$\chi$iv | math geneology

Kaethe Minden, “On Subcomplete Forcing,” Ph.D. dissertation for The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, May, 2017. (arxiv/1705.00386)

Abstract. I survey an array of topics in set theory and their interaction with, or in the context of, a novel class of forcing notions: subcomplete forcing. Subcomplete forcing notions satisfy some desirable qualities; for example they don’t add any new reals to the model, and they admit an iteration theorem. While it is straightforward to show that any forcing notion which is countably closed is also subcomplete, it turns out that other well-known, more subtle forcing notions like Prikry forcing and Namba forcing are also subcomplete. Subcompleteness was originally defined by Ronald Björn Jensen around 2009. Jensen’s writings make up the vast majority of the literature on the subject. Indeed, the definition in and of itself is daunting. I have attempted to make the subject more approachable to set theorists, while showing various properties of subcomplete forcing which one might desire of a forcing class.

It is well-known that countably closed forcings cannot add branches through $\omega_1$-trees. I look at the interaction between subcomplete forcing and $\omega_1$-trees. It turns out that sub-complete forcing also does not add cofinal branches to $\omega_1$-trees. I show that a myriad of other properties of trees of height $\omega_1$ as explored in [FH09] are preserved by subcomplete forcing; for example, I show that the unique branch property of Suslin trees is preserved by subcomplete forcing.

Another topic I explored is the Maximality Principle ($\text{MP}$). Following in the footsteps of Hamkins [Ham03], Leibman [Lei], and Fuchs [Fuc08], [Fuc09], I examine the subcomplete maximality principle. In order to elucidate the ways in which subcomplete forcing generalizes the notion of countably closed forcing, I compare the countably closed maximality principle ($\text{MP}_{<\omega_1\text{-closed}}$) to the subcomplete maximality principle ($\text{MP}_{sc}$). Again, since countably closed forcing is subcomplete, this is a natural question to ask. I was able to show that many of the results about $\text{MP}_{<\omega_1\text{-closed}}$ also hold for $\text{MP}_{sc}$; for example, the boldface appropriate notion of $\text{MP}_{sc}$ is equiconsistent with a fully reflecting cardinal. However, it is not the case that there are direct implications between the subcomplete and countably closed maximality principles.

Another forcing principle explored in my thesis is the Resurrection Axiom ($\text{RA}$). Hamkins and Johnstone [HJ14a] defined the resurrection axiom only relative to $H_{\mathfrak{c}}$, and focus mainly on the resurrection axiom for proper forcing. They also show the equiconsistency of various resurrection axioms with an uplifting cardinal. I argue that the subcomplete resurrection axiom should naturally be considered relative to $H_{\omega_2}$, and showed that the subcomplete resurrection axiom is equiconsistent with an uplifting cardinal.

A question reasonable to ask about any class of forcings is whether or not the resurrection axiom and the maximality principle can consistently both hold for that class. I originally had this question about the full principles, not restricted to any class, but in my thesis it was appropriate to look at the question for subcomplete forcing. I answer the question positively for subcomplete forcing using a strongly uplifting fully reflecting cardinal, which is a combination of the large cardinals needed to force the principles separately. I show that the boldface versions of $\text{MP}_{sc}+\text{RA}_{sc}$ both holding is equiconsistent with the existence of a strongly uplifting fully reflecting cardinal. While Jensen [Jen14] shows that Prikry forcing is subcomplete, I long suspected that many variants of Prikry forcing which have a kind of genericity criterion are also subcomplete. After much work I managed to show that a variant of Prikry forcing known as Diagonal Prikry Forcing is subcomplete, giving another example of subcomplete forcing to add to the list.

Kaethe Minden defense

Kaethe has taken up a faculty position at Marlboro College in Vermont.