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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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.

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.” (manuscript under review)  
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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.” (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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    author = {Fran\c{c}ois G. Dorais and Joel David Hamkins},
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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)  
    @ARTICLE{GitmanHamkins:A-model-of-the-generic-Vopenka-principle-in-which-the-ordinals-are-not-delta_2-Mahlo,
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    title = {A model of the generic Vop\v enka principle in which the ordinals are not $\Delta_2$-Mahlo},
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The inclusion relations of the countable models of set theory are all isomorphic

  • J. D. Hamkins and M. Kikuchi, “The inclusion relations of the countable models of set theory are all isomorphic.” (manuscript under review)  
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mereology type

Abstract. The structures $\langle M,\newcommand\of{\subseteq}\of^M\rangle$ arising as the inclusion relation of a countable model of sufficient set theory $\langle M,\in^M\rangle$, whether well-founded or not, are all isomorphic. These structures $\langle M,\of^M\rangle$ are exactly the countable saturated models of the theory of set-theoretic mereology: an unbounded atomic relatively complemented distributive lattice. A very weak set theory suffices, even finite set theory, provided that one excludes the $\omega$-standard models with no infinite sets and the $\omega$-standard models of set theory with an amorphous set. Analogous results hold also for class theories such as Gödel-Bernays set theory and Kelley-Morse set theory.

Set-theoretic mereology is the study of the inclusion relation $\of$ as it arises within set theory. In any set-theoretic context, with the set membership relation $\in$, one may define the corresponding inclusion relation $\of$ and investigate its properties. Thus, every model of set theory $\langle M,\in^M\rangle$ gives rise to a corresponding model of set-theoretic mereology $\langle M,\of^M\rangle$, the reduct to the inclusion relation.

In our previous article,

J. D. Hamkins and M. Kikuchi, Set-theoretic mereology, Logic and Logical Philosophy, special issue “Mereology and beyond, part II”, vol. 25, iss. 3, pp. 1-24, 2016.

we had identified exactly the complete theory of these mereological structures $\langle M,\of^M\rangle$. Namely, if $\langle M,\in^M\rangle$ is a model of set theory, even for extremely weak theories, including set theory without the infinity axiom, then the corresponding mereological reduct $\langle M,\of^M\rangle$ is an unbounded atomic relatively complemented distributive lattice. We call this the theory of set-theoretic mereology. By a quantifier-elimination argument that we give in our earlier paper, partaking of Tarski’s Boolean-algebra invariants and Ersov’s work on lattices, this theory is complete, finitely axiomatizable and decidable.  We had proved among other things that $\in$ is never definable from $\of$ in any model of set theory and furthermore, some models of set-theoretic mereology can arise as the inclusion relation of diverse models of set theory, with different theories. Furthermore, we proved that $\langle\text{HF},\subseteq\rangle\prec\langle V,\subseteq\rangle$.

After that work, we found it natural to inquire:

Question. Which models of set-theoretic mereology arise as the inclusion relation $\of$ of a model of set theory?

More precisely, given a model $\langle M,\newcommand\sqof{\sqsubseteq}\sqof\rangle$ of set-theoretic mereology, under what circumstances can we place a binary relation $\in^M$ on $M$ in such a way that $\langle M,\in^M\rangle$ is a model of set theory and the inclusion relation $\of$ defined in $\langle M,\in^M\rangle$ is precisely the given relation $\sqof$? One can view this question as seeking a kind of Stone-style representation of the mereological structure $\langle M,\sqof\rangle$, because such a model $M$ would provide a representation of $\langle M,\sqof\rangle$ as a relative field of sets via the model of set theory $\langle M,\in^M\rangle$.

A second natural question was to wonder how much of the theory of the original model of set theory can be recovered from the mereological reduct.

Question. If $\langle M,\of^M\rangle$ is the model of set-theoretic mereology arising as the inclusion relation $\of$ of a model of set theory $\langle M,\in^M\rangle$, what part of the theory of $\langle M,\in^M\rangle$ is determined by the structure $\langle M,\of^M\rangle$?

In the case of the countable models of ZFC, these questions are completely answered by our main theorems.

Main Theorems.

  1. All countable models of set theory $\langle M,\in^M\rangle\models\text{ZFC}$ have isomorphic reducts $\langle M,\of^M\rangle$ to the inclusion relation.
  2. The same holds for models of considerably weaker theories such as KP and even finite set theory, provided one excludes the $\omega$-standard models without infinite sets and the $\omega$-standard models having an amorphous set.
  3. These inclusion reducts $\langle M,\of^M\rangle$ are precisely the countable saturated models of set-theoretic mereology.
  4. Similar results hold for class theory: all countable models of Gödel-Bernays set theory have isomorphic reducts to the inclusion relation, and this reduct is precisely the countably infinite saturated atomic Boolean algebra.

Specifically, we show that the mereological reducts $\langle M,\of^M\rangle$ of the models of sufficient set theory are always $\omega$-saturated, and from this it follows on general model-theoretic grounds that they are all isomorphic, establishing statements (1) and (2). So a countable model $\langle M,\sqof\rangle$ of set-theoretic mereology arises as the inclusion relation of a model of sufficient set theory if and only if it is $\omega$-saturated, establishing (3) and answering the first question. Consequently, in addition, the mereological reducts $\langle M,\of^M\rangle$ of the countable models of sufficient set theory know essentially nothing of the theory of the structure $\langle M,\in^M\rangle$ from which they arose, since $\langle M,\of^M\rangle$ arises equally as the inclusion relation of other models $\langle M,\in^*\rangle$ with any desired sufficient alternative set theory, a fact which answers the second question. Our analysis works with very weak set theories, even finite set theory, provided one excludes the $\omega$-standard models with no infinite sets and the $\omega$-standard models with an amorphous set, since the inclusion reducts of these models are not $\omega$-saturated. We also prove that most of these results do not generalize to uncountable models, nor even to the $\omega_1$-like models.

Our results have some affinity with the classical results in models of arithmetic concerned with the additive reducts of models of PA. Restricting a model of set theory to the inclusion relation $\of$ is, after all, something like restricting a model of arithmetic to its additive part. Lipshitz and Nadel (1978) proved that a countable model of Presburger arithmetic (with $+$ only) can be expanded to a model of PA if and only if it is computably saturated. We had hoped at first to prove a corresponding result for the mereological reducts of the models of set theory. In arithmetic, the additive reducts are not all isomorphic, since the standard system of the PA model is fully captured by the additive reduct. Our main result for the countable models of set theory, however, turned out to be stronger than we had expected, since the inclusion reducts are not merely computably saturated, but fully $\omega$-saturated, and this is why they are all isomorphic. Meanwhile, Lipshitz and Nadel point out that their result does not generalize to uncountable models of arithmetic, and similarly ours also does not generalize to uncountable models of set theory.

The work leaves the following question open:

Question. Are the mereological reducts $\langle M,\of^M\rangle$ of all the countable models $\langle M,\in^M\rangle$ of ZF with an amorphous set all isomorphic?

We expect the answer to come from a deeper understanding of the Tarski-Ersov invariants for the mereological structures combined with knowledge of models of ZF with amorphous sets.

This is joint work with Makoto Kikuchi.

Computable quotient presentations of models of arithmetic and set theory

  • M. T. Godziszewski and J. D. Hamkins, “Computable quotient presentations of models of arithmetic and set theory.”  
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Abstract. We prove various extensions of the Tennenbaum phenomenon to the case of computable quotient presentations of models of arithmetic and set theory. Specifically, no nonstandard model of arithmetic has a computable quotient presentation by a c.e. equivalence relation. No $\Sigma_1$-sound nonstandard model of arithmetic has a computable quotient presentation by a co-c.e. equivalence relation. No nonstandard model of arithmetic in the language $\{+,\cdot,\leq\}$ has a computably enumerable quotient presentation by any equivalence relation of any complexity. No model of ZFC or even much weaker set theories has a computable quotient presentation by any equivalence relation of any complexity. And similarly no nonstandard model of finite set theory has a computable quotient presentation. 

A computable quotient presentation of a mathematical structure $\mathcal A$ consists of a computable structure on the natural numbers $\langle\newcommand\N{\mathbb{N}}\N,\star,\ast,\dots\rangle$, meaning that the operations and relations of the structure are computable, and an equivalence relation $E$ on $\N$, not necessarily computable but which is a congruence with respect to this structure, such that the quotient $\langle\N,\star,\ast,\dots\rangle/E$ is isomorphic to $\mathcal A$. Thus, one may consider computable quotient presentations of graphs, groups, orders, rings and so on, for any kind of mathematical structure. In a language with relations, it is also natural to relax the concept somewhat by considering the computably enumerable quotient presentations, which allow the pre-quotient relations to be merely computably enumerable, rather than insisting that they must be computable.

At the 2016 conference Mathematical Logic and its Applications at the Research Institute for Mathematical Sciences (RIMS) in Kyoto, Bakhadyr Khoussainov outlined a sweeping vision for the use of computable quotient presentations as a fruitful alternative approach to the subject of computable model theory. In his talk (see his slides), he outlined a program of guiding questions and results in this emerging area. Part of this program concerns the investigation, for a fixed equivalence relation $E$ or type of equivalence relation, which kind of computable quotient presentations are possible with respect to quotients modulo $E$.

In this article, we engage specifically with two conjectures that Khoussainov had made at the meeting.

Conjecture. (Khoussainov)

  1. No nonstandard model of arithmetic admits a computable quotient presentation by a computably enumerable equivalence relation on the natural numbers.
  2. Some nonstandard model of arithmetic admits a computable quotient presentation by a co-c.e.~equivalence relation.

We prove the first conjecture and refute several natural variations of the second conjecture, although a further natural variation, perhaps the central case, remains open. In addition, we consider and settle the natural analogues of the conjectures for models of set theory.

The implicitly constructible universe

  • M. J.~Groszek and J. D. Hamkins, “The implicitly constructible universe.” (manuscript under review)  
    @ARTICLE{GrozekHamkins:The-implicitly-constructible-universe,
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Abstract. We answer several questions posed by Hamkins and Leahy concerning the implicitly constructible universe $\newcommand\Imp{\text{Imp}}\Imp$, which they introduced in their paper, Algebraicity and implicit definability in set theory. Specifically, we show that it is relatively consistent with ZFC that $\Imp \models \neg \text{CH}$, that $\Imp \neq \text{HOD}$, and that $\Imp \models V \neq \Imp$, or in other words, that $(\Imp)^{\Imp} \neq \Imp$.

The rearrangement number

  • A. Blass, J. Brendle, W. Brian, J. D. Hamkins, M. Hardy, and P. B. Larson, “The rearrangement number.” (manuscript under review)  
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Abstract.  How many permutations of the natural numbers are needed so that every conditionally convergent series of real numbers can be rearranged to no longer converge to the same sum? We show that the minimum number of permutations needed for this purpose, which we call the rearrangement number, is uncountable, but whether it equals the cardinal of the continuum is independent of the usual axioms of
set theory. We compare the rearrangement number with several natural variants, for example one obtained by requiring the rearranged series to still converge but to a new, finite limit. We also compare the rearrangement number with several well-studied
cardinal characteristics of the continuum. We present some new forcing constructions designed to add permutations that rearrange series from the ground model in particular ways, thereby obtaining consistency results going beyond those that follow from comparisons with familiar cardinal characteristics. Finally we deal briefly with some variants concerning rearrangements by a special sort of permutations and with rearranging some divergent series to become (conditionally) convergent.

This project started with Michael Hardy’s question on MathOverflow, How many rearrangements must fail to alter the value of a sum before you conclude that none do? I had proposed in my answer that we should think of the cardinal in question as a cardinal characteristic of the continuum, the rearrangement number, since we could prove that it was uncountable and that it was the continuum under MA, and had begun to separate it from other familiar cardinal characteristics. Eventually, the research effort grew into the collaboration of this paper. What a lot of fun!

Colloquium talk at Vassar | Lecture notes talk at CUNY | the original MathOverflow question

Here are the lecture notes for an introductory talk on the topic I had given at the Vassar College Mathematics Colloquium

Ord is not definably weakly compact

  • A. Enayat and J. D. Hamkins, “ZFC proves that the class of ordinals is not weakly compact for definable classes.” (manuscript under review)  
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In ZFC the class of all ordinals is very like a large cardinal.  Being closed under exponentiation, for example, Ord is a strong limit.  Indeed, it is a beth fixed point. And Ord is regular with respect to definable classes by the replacement axiom.  In this sense, ZFC therefore proves that Ord is definably inaccessible.  Which other large cardinal properties are exhibited by Ord? Perhaps you wouldn’t find it unreasonable for Ord to exhibit, at least consistently with ZFC, the definable proper class analogues of other much stronger large cardinal properties?

Meanwhile, the main results of this paper, joint between myself and Ali Enayat, show that such an expectation would be misplaced, even for comparatively small large cardinal properties. Specifically, in a result that surprised me, it turns out that the class of ordinals NEVER exhibits the definable proper class analogue of weak compactness in any model of ZFC.

Theorem. The class of ordinals is not definably weakly compact. In every model of ZFC:

  1. The definable tree property fails; there is a definable Ord-tree with no definable cofinal branch.
  2. The definable partition property fails; there is a definable 2-coloring of a definable proper class, with no homogeneous definable proper subclass.
  3. The definable compactness property fails for $\mathcal{L}_{\mathrm{Ord,\omega}}$; there is a definable theory in this logic, all of whose set-sized subtheories are satisfiable, but the whole theory has no definable class model.

The proof uses methods from the model theory of set theory, including especially the fact that no model of ZFC has a conservative $\Sigma_3$-elementary end-extension.

Theorem. The definable $\Diamond _{\mathrm{Ord}}$ principle holds in a model of ZFC if and only if the model has a definable well-ordering.

We close the paper by proving that the theory of the spartan models of Gödel-Bernays set theory GB — those equipped with only their definable classes — is $\Pi^1_1$-complete.

Theorem. The set of sentences true in all spartan models of GB is $\Pi_{1}^{1}$-complete.

The Vopěnka principle is inequivalent to but conservative over the Vopěnka scheme

  • J. D. Hamkins, “The Vopěnka principle is inequivalent to but conservative over the Vopěnka scheme.” (manuscript under review)  
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Abstract. The Vopěnka principle, which asserts that every proper class of first-order structures in a common language admits an elementary embedding between two of its members, is not equivalent over GBC to the first-order Vopěnka scheme, which makes the Vopěnka assertion only for the first-order definable classes of structures. Nevertheless, the two Vopěnka axioms are equiconsistent and they have exactly the same first-order consequences in the language of set theory. Specifically, GBC plus the Vopěnka principle is conservative over ZFC plus the Vopěnka scheme for first-order assertions in the language of set theory.

Indras Net-03

The Vopěnka principle is the assertion that for every proper class $\mathcal{M}$ of first-order $\mathcal{L}$-structures, for a set-sized language $\mathcal{L}$, there are distinct members of the class $M,N\in\mathcal{M}$ with an elementary embedding $j:M\to N$ between them. In quantifying over classes, this principle is a single assertion in the language of second-order set theory, and it makes sense to consider the Vopěnka principle in the context of a second-order set theory, such as Godel-Bernays set theory GBC, whose language allows one to quantify over classes. In this article, GBC includes the global axiom of choice.

In contrast, the first-order Vopěnka scheme makes the Vopěnka assertion only for the first-order definable classes $\mathcal{M}$ (allowing parameters). This theory can be expressed as a scheme of first-order statements, one for each possible definition of a class, and it makes sense to consider the Vopěnka scheme in Zermelo-Frankael ZFC set theory with the axiom of choice.

Because the Vopěnka principle is a second-order assertion, it does not make sense to refer to it in the context of ZFC set theory, whose first-order language does not allow quantification over classes; one typically retreats to the Vopěnka scheme in that context. The theme of this article is to investigate the precise meta-mathematical interactions between these two treatments of Vopěnka’s idea.

Main Theorems.

  1. If ZFC and the Vopěnka scheme holds, then there is a class forcing extension, adding classes but no sets, in which GBC and the Vopěnka scheme holds, but the Vopěnka principle fails.
  2. If ZFC and the Vopěnka scheme holds, then there is a class forcing extension, adding classes but no sets, in which GBC and the Vopěnka principle holds.

It follows that the Vopěnka principle VP and the Vopěnka scheme VS are not equivalent, but they are equiconsistent and indeed, they have the same first-order consequences.

Corollaries.

  1. Over GBC, the Vopěnka principle and the Vopěnka scheme, if consistent, are not equivalent.
  2. Nevertheless, the two Vopěnka axioms are equiconsistent over GBC.
  3. Indeed, the two Vopěnka axioms have exactly the same first-order consequences in the language of set theory. Specifically, GBC plus the Vopěnka principle is conservative over ZFC plus the Vopěnka scheme for assertions in the first-order language of set theory. $$\text{GBC}+\text{VP}\vdash\phi\qquad\text{if and only if}\qquad\text{ZFC}+\text{VS}\vdash\phi$$

These results grew out of my my answer to a MathOverflow question of Mike Shulman, Can Vopěnka’s principle be violated definably?, inquiring whether there would always be a definable counterexample to the Vopěnka principle, whenever it should happen to fail. I interpret the question as asking whether the Vopěnka scheme is necessarily equivalent to the Vopěnka principle, and the answer is negative.

The proof of the main theorem involves the concept of a stretchable set $g\subset\kappa$ for an $A$-extendible cardinal, which has the property that for every cardinal $\lambda>\kappa$ and every extension $h\subset\lambda$ with $h\cap\kappa=g$, there is an elementary embedding $j:\langle V_\lambda,\in,A\cap V_\lambda\rangle\to\langle V_\theta,\in,A\cap V_\theta\rangle$ such that $j(g)\cap\lambda=h$. Thus, the set $g$ can be stretched by an $A$-extendibility embedding so as to agree with any given $h$.

Set-theoretic mereology

  • J. D. Hamkins and M. Kikuchi, “Set-theoretic mereology,” Logic and Logical Philosophy, special issue “Mereology and beyond, part II”, vol. 25, iss. 3, pp. 285-308, 2016.  
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Abstract. We consider a set-theoretic version of mereology based on the inclusion relation $\newcommand\of{\subseteq}\of$ and analyze how well it might serve as a foundation of mathematics. After establishing the non-definability of $\in$ from $\of$, we identify the natural axioms for $\of$-based mereology, which constitute a finitely axiomatizable, complete, decidable theory. Ultimately, for these reasons, we conclude that this form of set-theoretic mereology cannot by itself serve as a foundation of mathematics. Meanwhile, augmented forms of set-theoretic mereology, such as that obtained by adding the singleton operator, are foundationally robust.

In light of the comparative success of membership-based set theory in the foundations of mathematics, since the time of Cantor, Zermelo and Hilbert, a mathematical philosopher naturally wonders whether one might find a similar success for mereology, based upon a mathematical or set-theoretic parthood relation rather than the element-of relation $\in$. Can set-theoretic mereology serve as a foundation of mathematics? And what should be the central axioms of set-theoretic mereology?

Venn_Diagram_of_sets_((P),(Q),(R))We should like therefore to consider a mereological perspective in set theory, analyzing how well it might serve as a foundation while identifying the central axioms. Although set theory and mereology, of course, are often seen as being in conflict, what we take as the project here is to develop and investigate, within set theory, a set-theoretic interpretation of mereological ideas. Mereology, by placing its focus on the parthood relation, seems naturally interpreted in set theory by means of the inclusion relation $\of$, so that one set $x$ is a part of another $y$, just in case $x$ is a subset of $y$, written $x\of y$. This interpretation agrees with David Lewis’s Parts of Classes (1991) interpretation of set-theoretic mereology in the context of sets and classes, but we restrict our attention to the universe of sets. So in this article we shall consider the formulation of set-theoretic mereology as the study of the structure $\langle V,\of\rangle$, which we shall take as the canonical fundamental structure of set-theoretic mereology, where $V$ is the universe of all sets; this is in contrast to the structure $\langle V,{\in}\rangle$, usually taken as central in set theory. The questions are: How well does this mereological structure serve as a foundation of mathematics? Can we faithfully interpret the rest of mathematics as taking place in $\langle V,\of\rangle$ to the same extent that set theorists have argued (with whatever degree of success) that one may find faithful representations in $\langle V,{\in}\rangle$? Can we get by with merely the subset relation $\of$ in place of the membership relation $\in$?

Ultimately, we shall identify grounds supporting generally negative answers to these questions. On the basis of various mathematical results, our main philosophical thesis will be that the particular understanding of set-theoretic mereology via the inclusion relation $\of$ cannot adequately serve by itself as a foundation of mathematics. Specifically, the following theorem and corollary show that $\in$ is not definable from $\of$, and we take this to show that one may not interpret membership-based set theory itself within set-theoretic mereology in any straightforward, direct manner.

Theorem. In any universe of set theory $\langle V,{\in}\rangle$, there is a definable relation $\in^*$, different from $\in$, such that $\langle V,{\in^*}\rangle$ is a model of set theory, in fact isomorphic to the original universe $\langle V,{\in}\rangle$, for which the corresponding inclusion relation $$u\subseteq^* v\quad\longleftrightarrow\quad \forall a\, (a\in^* u\to a\in^* v)$$ is identical to the usual inclusion relation $u\subseteq v$.

Corollary. One cannot define $\in$ from $\subseteq$ in any model of set theory, even allowing parameters in the definition.

A counterpoint to this is provided by the following theorem, however, which identifies a weak sense in which $\of$ may identify $\in$ up to definable automorphism of the universe.

Theorem. Assume ZFC in the universe $\langle V,\in\rangle$. Suppose that $\in^*$ is a definable class relation in $\langle V,{\in}\rangle$ for which $\langle V,\in^*\rangle$ is a model of set theory (a weak set theory suffices), such that the corresponding inclusion relation $$u\subseteq^* v\quad\iff\quad\forall a\,(a\in^* u\to a\in^* v)$$is the same as the usual inclusion relation $u\subseteq v$. Then the two membership relations are isomorphic $$\langle V,\in\rangle\cong\langle V,\in^*\rangle.$$

That counterpoint is not decisive, however, in light of the question whether we really need $\in^*$ to be a class with respect to $\in$, a question resolved by the following theorem, which shows that set-theoretic mereology does not actually determine the $\in$-isomorphism class or even the $\in$-theory of the $\in$-model in which it arises.

Theorem. For any two consistent theories extending ZFC, there are models $\langle W,{\in}\rangle$ and $\langle W,{\in^*}\rangle$ of those theories, respectively, with the same underlying set $W$ and the same induced inclusion relation $\of=\of^*$.

For example, we cannot determine in $\of$-based set-theoretic mereology whether the continuum hypothesis holds or fails, whether the axiom of choice holds or fails or whether there are large cardinals or not. Initially, the following central theorem may appear to be a positive result for mereology, since it identifies precisely what are the principles of set-theoretic mereology, considered as the theory of $\langle V,{\of}\rangle$. Namely, $\of$ is an atomic unbounded relatively complemented distributive lattice, and this is a finitely axiomatizable complete theory. So in a sense, this theory simply is the theory of $\of$-based set-theoretic mereology.

Theorem. Set-theoretic mereology, considered as the theory of $\langle V,\of\rangle$, is precisely the theory of an atomic unbounded relatively complemented distributive lattice, and furthermore, this theory is finitely axiomatizable, complete and decidable.

But upon reflection, since every finitely axiomatizable complete theory is decidable, the result actually appears to be devastating for set-theoretic mereology as a foundation of mathematics, because a decidable theory is much too simple to serve as a foundational theory for all mathematics. The full spectrum and complexity of mathematics naturally includes all the instances of many undecidable decision problems and so cannot be founded upon a decidable theory. Finally, it follows as a corollary that the structure consisting of the hereditarily finite sets under inclusion forms an elementary substructure of the full set-theoretic mereological universe $$\langle \text{HF},\of\rangle\prec\langle V,\of\rangle.$$ Consequently set-theoretic mereology cannot properly treat or even express the various concepts of infinity that arise in mathematics.

Mereology on MathOverflow | Mereology on Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy | Mereology on Wikipedia

Some previous posts on this blog:

Different models of set theory with same $\of$ | $\of$ is decidable

Upward closure and amalgamation in the generic multiverse of a countable model of set theory

  • J. D. Hamkins, “Upward closure and amalgamation in the generic multiverse of a countable model of set theory,” RIMS Kyôkyûroku, pp. 17-31, 2016. (also available as Newton Institute preprint ni15066)  
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Abstract. I prove several theorems concerning upward closure and amalgamation in the generic multiverse of a countable transitive model of set theory. Every such model $W$ has forcing extensions $W[c]$ and $W[d]$ by adding a Cohen real, which cannot be amalgamated in any further extension, but some nontrivial forcing notions have all their extensions amalgamable. An increasing chain $W[G_0]\subseteq W[G_1]\subseteq\cdots$ has an upper bound $W[H]$ if and only if the forcing had uniformly bounded essential size in $W$. Every chain $W\subseteq W[c_0]\subseteq W[c_1]\subseteq \cdots$ of extensions adding Cohen reals is bounded above by $W[d]$ for some $W$-generic Cohen real $d$.

This article is based upon I talk I gave at the conference on Recent Developments in Axiomatic Set Theory at the Research Institute for Mathematical Sciences (RIMS) at Kyoto University, Japan in September, 2015, and I am extremely grateful to my Japanese hosts, especially Toshimichi Usuba, for supporting my research visit there and also at the CTFM conference at Tokyo Institute of Technology just preceding it. This article includes material adapted from section section 2 of Set-theoretic geology, joint with G. Fuchs, myself and J. Reitz, and also includes a theorem that was proved in a series of conversations I had with Giorgio Venturi at the Young Set Theory Workshop 2011 in Bonn and continuing at the London 2011 summer school on set theory at Birkbeck University London.

A position in infinite chess with game value $\omega^4$

  • C.~D.~A.~Evans, J. D. Hamkins, and N. L. Perlmutter, “A position in infinite chess with game value $\omega^4$,” to appear in Integers, vol. 17, 2017. (Newton Institute preprint ni15065)  
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Abstract.  We present a position in infinite chess exhibiting an ordinal game value of $\omega^4$, thereby improving on the previously largest-known values of $\omega^3$ and $\omega^3\cdot 4$.

This is a joint work with Cory Evans and Norman Perlmutter, continuing the research program of my previous article with Evans, Transfinite game values in infinite chess, namely, the research program of finding positions in infinite chess with large transfinite ordinal game values. In the previous article, Cory and I presented a position with game value $\omega^3$. In the current paper, with Norman Perlmutter now having joined us accompanied by some outstanding ideas, we present a new position having game value $\omega^4$, breaking the previous record.

Full position value omega^4

A position in infinite chess with value $\omega^4$

In the new position, above, the kings sit facing each other in the throne room, an uneasy détente, while white makes steady progress in the rook towers. Meanwhile, at every step black, doomed, mounts increasingly desperate bouts of long forced play using the bishop cannon battery, with bishops flying with force out of the cannons, and then each making a long series of forced-reply moves in the terminal gateways. Ultimately, white wins with value omega^4, which exceeds the previously largest known values of omega^3.

In the throne room, if either black or white places a bishop on the corresponding diagonal entryway, then checkmate is very close. A key feature is that for white to place a white-square white bishop on the diagonal marked in red, it is immediate checkmate, whereas if black places a black-square black bishop on the blue diagonal, then checkmate comes three moves later.  The bishop cannon battery arrangement works because black threatens to release a bishop into the free region, and if white does not reply to those threats, then black will be three steps ahead, but otherwise, only two.

           The throne room

The rook towers are similar to the corresponding part of the previous $\omega^3$ position, and this is where white undertakes most of his main line progress towards checkmate.  Black will move the key bishop out as far as he likes on the first move, past $n$ rook towers, and the resulting position will have value $\omega^3\cdot n$.  These towers are each activated in turn, leading to a long series of play for white, interrupted at every opportunity by black causing a dramatic spectacle of forced-reply moves down in the bishop cannon battery.

Rook towers

            The rook towers

At every opportunity, black mounts a long distraction down in the bishop cannon battery.  Shown here is one bishop cannon. The cannonballs fire out of the cannon with force, in the sense that when each green bishop fires out, then white must reply by moving the guard pawns into place.

Bishop cannon

Bishop cannon

Upon firing, each bishop will position itself so as to attack the entrance diagonal of a long bishop gateway terminal wing.  This wing is arranged so that black can make a series of forced-reply threats successively, by moving to the attack squares (marked with the blue squares). Black is threatening to exit through the gateway doorway (in brown), but white can answer the threat by moving the white bishop guards (red) into position. Thus, each bishop coming out of a cannon (with force) can position itself at a gateway terminal of length $g$, making $g$ forced-reply moves in succession.  Since black can initiate firing with an arbitrarily large cannon, this means that at any moment, black can cause a forced-reply delay with game value $\omega^2$. Since the rook tower also has value $\omega^2$ by itself, the overall position has value $\omega^4=\omega^2\cdot\omega^2$.

Bishop gateway terminal wing

With future developments in mind, we found that one can make a more compact arrangement of the bishop cannon battery, freeing up a quarter board for perhaps another arrangement that might lead to a higher ordinal values.

Alternative compact version of bishop cannon battery

 

Read more about it in the article, which is available at the arxiv (pdf).

 

See also:

Open determinacy for class games

  • 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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Abstract. The principle of open determinacy for class games — two-player games of perfect information with plays of length $\omega$, where the moves are chosen from a possibly proper class, such as games on the ordinals — is not provable in Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory ZFC or Godel-Bernays set theory GBC, if these theories are consistent, because provably in ZFC there is a definable open proper class game with no definable winning strategy. In fact, the principle of open determinacy and even merely clopen determinacy for class games implies Con(ZFC) and iterated instances Con(Con(ZFC)) and more, because it implies that there is a satisfaction class for first-order truth, and indeed a transfinite tower of truth predicates $\text{Tr}_\alpha$ for iterated truth-about-truth, relative to any class parameter. This is perhaps explained, in light of the Tarskian recursive definition of truth, by the more general fact that the principle of clopen determinacy is exactly equivalent over GBC to the principle of transfinite recursion over well-founded class relations. Meanwhile, the principle of open determinacy for class games is provable in the stronger theory GBC$+\Pi^1_1$-comprehension, a proper fragment of Kelley-Morse set theory KM.

See my earlier posts on part of this material: