Same structure, different truths, Stanford University CSLI, May 2016

This will be a talk for the Workshop on Logic, Rationality, and Intelligent Interaction at the CSLI, Stanford University, May 27-28, 2016.

Abstract. To what extent does a structure determine its theory of truth? I shall discuss several surprising mathematical results illustrating senses in which it does not, for the satisfaction relation of first-order logic is less absolute than one might have expected. Two models of set theory, for example, can have exactly the same natural numbers and the same arithmetic structure $\langle\mathbb{N},+,\cdot,0,1,<\rangle$, yet disagree on what is true in this structure; they have the same arithmetic, but different theories of arithmetic truth; two models of set theory can have the same natural numbers and a computable linear order in common, yet disagree on whether it is a well-order; two models of set theory can have the same natural numbers and the same reals, yet disagree on projective truth; two models of set theory can have a rank initial segment of the universe $\langle V_\delta,{\in}\rangle$ in common, yet disagree about whether it is a model of ZFC. These theorems and others can be proved with elementary classical model-theoretic methods, which I shall explain. Indefinite arithmetic truthOn the basis of these observations, Ruizhi Yang (Fudan University, Shanghai) and I argue that the definiteness of the theory of truth for a structure, even in the case of arithmetic, cannot be seen as arising solely from the definiteness of the structure itself in which that truth resides, but rather is a higher-order ontological commitment.

Slides | Main article: Satisfaction is not absolute | CLSI 2016 | Abstract at CLSI

The absolute truth about non-absolute truth, JAF – Weak Arithmetics Days, New York, July 2015

This will be a talk for the Journées sur les Arithmétiques Faibles – Weak Arithmetics Days conference, held in New York at the CUNY Graduate Center, July 7 – 9, 2015.

Abstract. I will discuss several fun theorems and folklore results illustrating that the satisfaction relation of first-order logic is less absolute than one might have expected. Two models of set theory, for example, can have the same natural numbers $\langle\mathbb{N},+,\cdot,0,1,<\rangle$, yet disagree on their theories of arithmetic truth; two models of set theory can have the same natural numbers and a computable linear order in common, yet disagree on whether it is a well-order and hence disagree about $\omega_1^{CK}$; two models of set theory can have the same natural numbers and the same reals, yet disagree on projective truth; two models of set theory can have a rank initial segment of the universe $\langle V_\delta,{\in}\rangle$ in common, yet disagree about whether it is a model of ZFC. These theorems and others can be proved with elementary classical model-theoretic methods. Indefinite arithmetic truthOn the basis of these observations, Ruizhi Yang (Fudan University, Shanghai) and I have argued that the definiteness of the theory of truth for a structure, even in the case of arithmetic, cannot be seen as arising solely from the definiteness of the structure itself in which that truth resides, but rather is a higher-order ontological commitment.

Slides |  Main article: Satisfaction is not absolute

Does definiteness-of-truth follow from definiteness-of-objects? NY Philosophical Logic Group, NYU, November 2014

This will be a talk for the New York Philosophical Logic Group, November 10, 2014, 5-7pm, at the NYU Philosophy Department, 5 Washington Place, Room 302.

Indefinite arithmetic truth

Abstract. This talk — a mix of mathematics and philosophy — concerns the extent to which we may infer definiteness of truth in a mathematical context from definiteness of the underlying objects and structure of that context. The philosophical analysis is based in part on the mathematical observation that the satisfaction relation for model-theoretic truth is less absolute than often supposed.  Specifically, two models of set theory can have the same natural numbers and the same structure of arithmetic in common, yet disagree about whether a particular arithmetic sentence is true in that structure. In other words, two models can have the same arithmetic objects and the same formulas and sentences in the language of arithmetic, yet disagree on their corresponding theories of truth for those objects. Similarly, two models of set theory can have the same natural numbers, the same arithmetic structure, and the same arithmetic truth, yet disagree on their truths-about-truth, and so on at any desired level of the iterated truth-predicate hierarchy.  These mathematical observations, for which I shall strive to give a very gentle proof in the talk (using only elementary classical methods), suggest that a philosophical commitment to the determinate nature of the theory of truth for a structure cannot be seen as a consequence solely of the determinateness of the structure in which that truth resides. The determinate nature of arithmetic truth, for example, is not a consequence of the determinate nature of the arithmetic structure N = {0,1,2,…} itself, but rather seems to be an additional higher-order commitment requiring its own analysis and justification.

This work is based on my recent paper, Satisfaction is not absolute, joint with Ruizhi Yang (Fudan University, Shanghai).

Local properties in set theory

V_thetaSet-theoretic arguments often make use of the fact that a particular property $\varphi$ is local, in the sense that instances of the property can be verified by checking certain facts in only a bounded part of the set-theoretic universe, such as inside some rank-initial segment $V_\theta$ or inside the collection $H_\kappa$ of all sets of hereditary size less than $\kappa$. It turns out that this concept is exactly equivalent to the property being $\Sigma_2$ expressible in the language of set theory.

Theorem. For any assertion $\varphi$ in the language of set theory, the following are equivalent:

  1. $\varphi$ is ZFC-provably equivalent to a $\Sigma_2$ assertion.
  2. $\varphi$ is ZFC-provably equivalent to an assertion of the form “$\exists \theta\, V_\theta\models\psi$,” where $\psi$ is a statement of any complexity.
  3. $\varphi$ is ZFC-provably equivalent to an assertion of the form “$\exists \kappa\, H_\kappa\models\psi$,” where $\psi$ is a statement of any complexity.

Just to clarify, the $\Sigma_2$ assertions in set theory are those of the form $\exists x\,\forall y\,\varphi_0(x,y)$, where $\varphi_0$ has only bounded quantifiers. The set $V_\theta$ refers to the rank-initial segment of the set-theoretic universe, consisting of all sets of von Neumann rank less than $\theta$. The set $H_\kappa$ consists of all sets of hereditary size less than $\kappa$, that is, whose transitive closure has size less than $\kappa$.

Proof. ($3\to 2$) Since $H_\kappa$ is correctly computed inside $V_\theta$ for any $\theta>\kappa$, it follows that to assert that some $H_\kappa$ satisfies $\psi$ is the same as to assert that some $V_\theta$ thinks that there is some cardinal $\kappa$ such that $H_\kappa$ satisfies $\psi$.

($2\to 1$) The statement $\exists \theta\, V_\theta\models\psi$ is equivalent to the assertion $\exists\theta\,\exists x\,(x=V_\theta\wedge x\models\psi)$. The claim that $x\models\psi$ involves only bounded quantifiers, since the quantifiers of $\psi$ become bounded by $x$. The claim that $x=V_\theta$ is $\Pi_1$ in $x$ and $\theta$, since it is equivalent to saying that $x$ is transitive and the ordinals of $x$ are precisely $\theta$ and $x$ thinks every $V_\alpha$ exists, plus a certain minimal set theory (so far this is just $\Delta_0$, since all quantifiers are bounded), plus, finally, the assertion that $x$ contains every subset of each of its elements. So altogether, the assertion that some $V_\theta$ satisfies $\psi$ has complexity $\Sigma_2$ in the language of set theory.

($1\to 3$) This implication is a consequence of the following absoluteness lemma.

Lemma. (Levy) If $\kappa$ is any uncountable cardinal, then $H_\kappa\prec_{\Sigma_1} V$.

Proof. Suppose that $x\in H_\kappa$ and $V\models\exists y\,\psi(x,y)$, where $\psi$ has only bounded quantifiers. Fix some such witness $y$, which exists inside some $H_\gamma$ for perhaps much larger $\gamma$. By the Löwenheim-Skolem theorem, there is $X\prec H_\gamma$ with $\text{TC}(\{x\})\subset X$, $y\in X$ and $X$ of size less than $\kappa$. Let $\pi:X\cong M$ be the Mostowski collapse of $X$, so that $M$ is transitive, and since it has size less than $\kappa$, it follows that $M\subset H_\kappa$. Since the transitive closure of $\{x\}$ was contained in $X$, it follows that $\pi(x)=x$. Thus, since $X\models\psi(x,y)$ we conclude that $M\models \psi(x,\pi(y))$ and so hence $\pi(y)$ is a witness to $\psi(x,\cdot)$ inside $H_\kappa$, as desired. QED

Using the lemma, we now prove the remaining part of the theorem. Consider any $\Sigma_2$ assertion $\exists x\,\forall y\, \varphi_0(x,y)$, where $\varphi_0$ has only bounded quantifiers. This assertion is equivalent to $\exists\kappa\, H_\kappa\models\exists x\,\forall y\,\varphi_0(x,y)$, simply because if there is such a $\kappa$ with $H_\kappa$ having such an $x$, then by the lemma this $x$ works for all $y\in V$ since $H_\kappa\prec_{\Sigma_1}V$; and conversely, if there is an $x$ such that $\forall y\, \varphi_0(x,y)$, then this will remain true inside any $H_\kappa$ with $x\in H_\kappa$. QED

In light of the theorem, it makes sense to refer to the $\Sigma_2$ properties as the locally verifiable properties, or perhaps as semi-local properties, since positive instances of $\Sigma_2$ assertions can be verified in some sufficiently large $V_\theta$, without need for unbounded search. A truly local property, therefore, would be one such that positive and negative instances can be verified this way, and these would be precisely the $\Delta_2$ properties, whose positive and negative instances are locally verifiable.

Tighter concepts of locality are obtained by insisting that the property is not merely verified in some $V_\theta$, perhaps very large, but rather is verified in a $V_\theta$ where $\theta$ has a certain closeness to the parameters or instance of the property. For example, a cardinal $\kappa$ is measurable just in case there is a $\kappa$-complete nonprincipal ultrafilter on $\kappa$, and this is verified inside $V_{\kappa+2}$. Thus, the assertion “$\kappa$ is measurable,” has complexity $\Sigma^2_1$ over $V_\kappa$. One may similarly speak of $\Sigma^n_m$ or $\Sigma^\alpha_m$ properties, to refer to properties that can be verified with $\Sigma_m$ assertions in $V_{\kappa+\alpha}$. Alternatively, for any class function $f$ on the ordinals, one may speak of $f$-local properties, meaning a property that can be checked of $x\in V_\theta$ by checking a property inside $V_{f(\theta)}$.

This post was made in response to a question on MathOverflow.

Satisfaction is not absolute, Dartmouth Logic Seminar, January 2014

dartmouth_campusThis will be a talk for the Dartmouth Logic Seminar on January 23rd, 2014.

Abstract. I will discuss a number of theorems showing that the satisfaction relation of first-order logic is less absolute than might have been supposed. Two models of set theory can have the same natural numbers, for example, and the same standard model of arithmetic $\langle\mathbb{N},{+},{\cdot},0,1,{\lt}\rangle$, yet disagree on their theories of arithmetic truth; two models of set theory can have the same natural numbers and a computable linear order in common, yet disagree on whether it is a well-order; two models of set theory can have the same natural numbers and the same reals, yet disagree on projective truth; two models of set theory can have a rank initial segment of the universe $\langle V_\delta,{\in}\rangle$ in common, yet disagree about whether it is a model of ZFC. The theorems are proved with elementary classical model-theoretic methods, and many of them can be considered folklore results in the subject of models of arithmetic.

Indefinite arithmetic truthOn the basis of these mathematical results, Ruizhi Yang (Fudan University, Shanghai) and I have argued that the definiteness of truth in a structure, such as with arithmetic truth in the standard model of arithmetic, cannot arise solely from the definiteness of the structure itself in which that truth resides; rather, it must be seen as a separate, higher-order ontological commitment.

Main article: Satisfaction is not absolute

Satisfaction is not absolute

  • J. D. Hamkins and R. Yang, “Satisfaction is not absolute,” to appear in the Review of Symbolic Logic, pp. 1-34.  
    @ARTICLE{HamkinsYang:SatisfactionIsNotAbsolute,
    author = {Joel David Hamkins and Ruizhi Yang},
    title = {Satisfaction is not absolute},
    journal = {to appear in the Review of Symbolic Logic},
    year = {},
    volume = {},
    number = {},
    pages = {1--34},
    month = {},
    note = {},
    abstract = {},
    keywords = {},
    source = {},
    eprint = {1312.0670},
    archivePrefix = {arXiv},
    primaryClass = {math.LO},
    url = {http://jdh.hamkins.org/satisfaction-is-not-absolute},
    doi = {},
    }

$\newcommand\N{\mathbb{N}}\newcommand\satisfies{\models}$

Abstract. We prove that the satisfaction relation $\mathcal{N}\satisfies\varphi[\vec a]$ of first-order logic is not absolute between models of set theory having the structure $\mathcal{N}$ and the formulas $\varphi$ all in common. Two models of set theory can have the same natural numbers, for example, and the same standard model of arithmetic $\langle\N,{+},{\cdot},0,1,{\lt}\rangle$, yet disagree on their theories of arithmetic truth; two models of set theory can have the same natural numbers and the same arithmetic truths, yet disagree on their truths-about-truth, at any desired level of the iterated truth-predicate hierarchy; two models of set theory can have the same natural numbers and the same reals, yet disagree on projective truth; two models of set theory can have the same $\langle H_{\omega_2},{\in}\rangle$ or the same rank-initial segment $\langle V_\delta,{\in}\rangle$, yet disagree on which assertions are true in these structures.

On the basis of these mathematical results, we argue that a philosophical commitment to the determinateness of the theory of truth for a structure cannot be seen as a consequence solely of the determinateness of the structure in which that truth resides. The determinate nature of arithmetic truth, for example, is not a consequence of the determinate nature of the arithmetic structure $\N=\{ 0,1,2,\ldots\}$ itself, but rather, we argue, is an additional higher-order commitment requiring its own analysis and justification.

Many mathematicians and philosophers regard the natural numbers $0,1,2,\ldots\,$, along with their usual arithmetic structure, as having a privileged mathematical existence, a Platonic realm in which assertions have definite, absolute truth values, independently of our ability to prove or discover them. Although there are some arithmetic assertions that we can neither prove nor refute—such as the consistency of the background theory in which we undertake our proofs—the view is that nevertheless there is a fact of the matter about whether any such arithmetic statement is true or false in the intended interpretation. The definite nature of arithmetic truth is often seen as a consequence of the definiteness of the structure of arithmetic $\langle\N,{+},{\cdot},0,1,{\lt}\rangle$ itself, for if the natural numbers exist in a clear and distinct totality in a way that is unambiguous and absolute, then (on this view) the first-order theory of truth residing in that structure—arithmetic truth—is similarly clear and distinct.

Feferman provides an instance of this perspective when he writes (Feferman 2013, Comments for EFI Workshop, p. 6-7) :

In my view, the conception [of the bare structure of the natural numbers] is completely clear, and thence all arithmetical statements are definite.

It is Feferman’s `thence’ to which we call attention.  Martin makes a similar point (Martin, 2012, Completeness or incompleteness of basic mathematical concepts):

What I am suggesting is that the real reason for confidence in first-order completeness is our confidence in the full determinateness of the concept of the natural numbers.

Many mathematicians and philosophers seem to share this perspective. The truth of an arithmetic statement, to be sure, does seem to depend entirely on the structure $\langle\N,{+},{\cdot},0,1,{\lt}\rangle$, with all quantifiers restricted to $\N$ and using only those arithmetic operations and relations, and so if that structure has a definite nature, then it would seem that the truth of the statement should be similarly definite.

Nevertheless, in this article we should like to tease apart these two ontological commitments, arguing that the definiteness of truth for a given mathematical structure, such as the natural numbers, the reals or higher-order structures such as $H_{\omega_2}$ or $V_\delta$, does not follow from the definite nature of the underlying structure in which that truth resides. Rather, we argue that the commitment to a theory of truth for a structure is a higher-order ontological commitment, going strictly beyond the commitment to a definite nature for the underlying structure itself.

We make our argument in part by proving that different models of set theory can have a structure identically in common, even the natural numbers, yet disagree on the theory of truth for that structure.

Theorem.

  • Two models of set theory can have the same structure of arithmetic $$\langle\N,{+},{\cdot},0,1,{\lt}\rangle^{M_1}=\langle\N,{+},{\cdot},0,1,{\lt}\rangle^{M_2},$$yet disagree on the theory of arithmetic truth.
  • Two models of set theory can have the same natural numbers and a computable linear order in common, yet disagree about whether it is a well-order.
  • Two models of set theory that have the same natural numbers and the same reals, yet disagree on projective truth.
  • Two models of set theory can have a transitive rank initial segment in common $$\langle V_\delta,{\in}\rangle^{M_1}=\langle V_\delta,{\in}\rangle^{M_2},$$yet disagree about whether it is a model of ZFC.

The proofs use only elementary classical methods, and might be considered to be a part of the folklore of the subject of models of arithmetic. The paper includes many further examples of the phenomenon, and concludes with a philosophical discussion of the issue of definiteness, concerning the question of whether one may deduce definiteness-of-truth from definiteness-of-objects and definiteness-of-structure.

 

Satisfaction is not absolute, CUNY Logic Workshop, September 2013

This will be a talk for the CUNY Logic Workshop on September 27, 2013.

Abstract.  I will discuss a number of theorems showing that the satisfaction relation of first-order logic is less absolute than might have been supposed. Two models of set theory $M_1$ and $M_2$, for example, can agree on their natural numbers $\langle\mathbb{N},{+},{\cdot},0,1,{\lt}\rangle^{M_1}=\langle\mathbb{N},{+},{\cdot},0,1,{\lt}\rangle^{M_2}$, yet disagree on arithmetic truth: they have a sentence $\sigma$ in the language of arithmetic that $M_1$ thinks is true in the natural numbers, yet $M_2$ thinks $\neg\sigma$ there. Two models of set theory can agree on the natural numbers $\mathbb{N}$ and on the reals $\mathbb{R}$, yet disagree on projective truth. Two models of set theory can have the same natural numbers and have a computable linear order in common, yet disagree about whether this order is well-ordered. Two models of set theory can have a transitive rank initial segment $V_\delta$ in common, yet disagree about whether this $V_\delta$ is a model of ZFC. The theorems are proved with elementary classical methods.

This is joint work with Ruizhi Yang (Fudan University, Shanghai). We argue, on the basis of these mathematical results, that the definiteness of truth in a structure, such as with arithmetic truth in the standard model of arithmetic, cannot arise solely from the definiteness of the structure itself in which that truth resides; rather, it must be seen as a separate, higher-order ontological commitment.

Article

Satisfaction is not absolute, Connecticut, October 2013

This will be a talk for the Logic Seminar in the Mathematics Department at the University of Connecticut in Storrs on October 25, 2013.

Abstract. The satisfaction relation $\mathcal{N}\models\varphi[\vec a]$ of first-order logic, it turns out, is less absolute than might have been supposed.  Two models of set theory, for example, can agree on their natural numbers and on what they think is the standard model of arithmetic $\langle\mathbb{N},{+},{\cdot},0,1,{\lt}\rangle$, yet disagree on their theories of arithmetic truth, the first-order truths of this structure.  Two models of set theory can have the same natural numbers and the same reals, yet disagree on projective truth.  Two models of set theory can have the same natural numbers and a computable linear order in common, yet disagree about whether it is well-ordered.  Two models of set theory can have a transitive rank initial segment $V_\delta$ in common, yet disagree about whether it is a model of ZFC.  The arguments rely mainly on elementary classical methods.

This is joint work with Ruizhi Yang (Fudan University, Shanghai), and our manuscript will be available soon, in which we prove these and several other very general facts showing that satisfaction is not absolute.  On the basis of these mathematical results, we mount a philosophical argument that a commitment to the determinateness of truth in a structure, such as the case of arithmetic truth in the standard model of arithmetic, cannot result solely from the determinateness of the structure itself in which that truth resides; rather, it must be seen as a separate, higher-order ontological commitment.

University of Connecticut Logic Seminar | Article