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.

 

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.  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 S4.2, S4.3 and S5. I shall take the various natural kinds of set-theoretic potentialism as illustrative cases.

This is joint work with Øystein Linnebo, University of Oslo. Our paper is available: The modal logic of set-theoretic potentialism and the potentialist maximality principles.

  • 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 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.

Recent advances in set-theoretic geology, Harvard Logic Colloquium, October 2016

I will speak at the Harvard Logic Colloquium, October 20, 2016, 4-6 pm.

harvard

Abstract. Set-theoretic geology is the study of the set-theoretic universe $V$ in the context of all its ground models and those of its forcing extensions. For example, a bedrock of the universe is a minimal ground model of it and the mantle is the intersection of all grounds. In this talk, I shall explain some recent advances, including especially the breakthrough result of Toshimichi Usuba, who proved the strong downward directed grounds hypothesis: for any set-indexed family of grounds, there is a deeper common ground below them all. This settles a large number of formerly open questions in set-theoretic geology, while also leading to new questions. It follows, for example, that the mantle is a model of ZFC and provably the largest forcing-invariant definable class. Strong downward directedness has also led to an unexpected connection between large cardinals and forcing: if there is a hyper-huge cardinal $\kappa$, then the universe indeed has a bedrock and all grounds use only $\kappa$-small forcing.

Slides

Set-theoretic potentialism, CUNY Logic Workshop, September, 2016

This will be a talk for the CUNY Logic Workshop, September 16, 2016, at the CUNY Graduate Center, Room 6417, 2-3:30 pm.

Book 06487 20040730160046 droste effect nevit.jpgAbstract.  In analogy with the ancient views on potential as opposed to actual infinity, set-theoretic potentialism is the philosophical position holding that the universe of set theory is never fully completed, but rather has a potential character, with greater parts of it becoming known to us as it unfolds. In this talk, I should like to undertake a mathematical analysis of the modal commitments of various specific natural accounts of set-theoretic potentialism. After developing a general model-theoretic framework for potentialism and describing how the corresponding modal validities are revealed by certain types of control statements, which we call buttons, switches, dials and ratchets, I apply this analysis to the case of set-theoretic potentialism, including the modalities of true-in-all-larger-$V_\beta$, true-in-all-transitive-sets, true-in-all-Grothendieck-Zermelo-universes, true-in-all-countable-transitive-models and others. Broadly speaking, the height-potentialist systems generally validate exactly S4.3 and the height-and-width-potentialist systems generally validate exactly S4.2. Each potentialist system gives rise to a natural accompanying maximality principle, which occurs when S5 is valid at a world, so that every possibly necessary statement is already true.  For example, a Grothendieck-Zermelo universe $V_\kappa$, with $\kappa$ inaccessible, exhibits the maximality principle with respect to assertions in the language of set theory using parameters from $V_\kappa$ just in case $\kappa$ is a $\Sigma_3$-reflecting cardinal, and it exhibits the maximality principle with respect to assertions in the potentialist language of set theory with parameters just in case it is fully reflecting $V_\kappa\prec V$.

This is current joint work with Øystein Linnebo, in progress, which builds on some of my prior work with George Leibman and Benedikt Löwe in the modal logic of forcing.

CUNY Logic Workshop abstract | link to article will be posted later

The modal logic of set-theoretic potentialism, Kyoto, September 2016

Kyoto cuisineThis will be a talk for the workshop conference Mathematical Logic and Its Applications, which will be held at the Research Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Kyoto University, Japan, September 26-29, 2016, organized by Makoto Kikuchi. The workshop is being held in memory of Professor Yuzuru Kakuda, who was head of the research group in logic at Kobe University during my stay there many years ago.

Abstract.  Set-theoretic potentialism is the ontological view in the philosophy of mathematics that the universe of set theory is never fully completed, but rather has a potential character, with greater parts of it becoming known to us as it unfolds. In this talk, I should like to undertake a mathematical analysis of the modal commitments of various specific natural accounts of set-theoretic potentialism. After developing a general model-theoretic framework for potentialism and describing how the corresponding modal validities are revealed by certain types of control statements, which we call buttons, switches, dials and ratchets, I apply this analysis to the case of set-theoretic potentialism, including the modalities of true-in-all-larger-$V_\beta$, true-in-all-transitive-sets, true-in-all-Grothendieck-Zermelo-universes, true-in-all-countable-transitive-models and others. Broadly speaking, the height-potentialist systems generally validate exactly S4.3 and the height-and-width-potentialist systems validate exactly S4.2. Each potentialist system gives rise to a natural accompanying maximality principle, which occurs when S5 is valid at a world, so that every possibly necessary statement is already true.  For example, a Grothendieck-Zermelo universe $V_\kappa$, with $\kappa$ inaccessible, exhibits the maximality principle with respect to assertions in the language of set theory using parameters from $V_\kappa$ just in case $\kappa$ is a $\Sigma_3$-reflecting cardinal, and it exhibits the maximality principle with respect to assertions in the potentialist language of set theory with parameters just in case it is fully reflecting $V_\kappa\prec V$.

This is joint work with Øystein Linnebo, which builds on some of my prior work with George Leibman and Benedikt Löwe in the modal logic of forcing. Our research article is currently in progress.

Slides | Workshop program

Recent progress on the modal logic of forcing and grounds, CUNY Logic Workshop, September 2012

This will be a talk for the CUNY Logic Workshop on September 7, 2012.

Abstract. The modal logic of forcing arises when one considers a model of set theory in the context of all its forcing extensions, with “true in all forcing extensions” and“true in some forcing extension” as the accompanying modal operators. In this modal language one may easily express sweeping general forcing principles, such asthe assertion that every possibly necessary statement is necessarily possible, which is valid for forcing, orthe assertion that every possibly necessary statement is true, which is the maximality principle, a forcing axiom independent of but equiconsistent with ZFC.  Similarly, the dual modal logic of grounds concerns the modalities “true in all ground models” and “true in some ground model”.  In this talk, I shall survey the recent progress on the modal logic of forcing and the modal logic of grounds. This is joint work with Benedikt Loewe and George Leibman.

 

Moving up and down in the generic multiverse

  • J. D. Hamkins and B. Löwe, “Moving up and down in the generic multiverse,” Logic and its Applications, ICLA 2013 LNCS, vol. 7750, pp. 139-147, 2013.  
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In this extended abstract we investigate the modal logic of the generic multiverse, which is a bimodal logic with operators corresponding to the relations “is a forcing extension of”‘ and “is a ground model of”. The fragment of the first relation is the modal logic of forcing and was studied by us in earlier work. The fragment of the second relation is the modal logic of grounds and will be studied here for the first time. In addition, we discuss which combinations of modal logics are possible for the two fragments.

The main theorems are as follows:

Theorem.  If  ZFC is consistent, then there is a model of  ZFC  whose modal logic of forcing and modal logic of grounds are both S4.2.

Theorem.  If  the theory “$L_\delta\prec L+\delta$ is inaccessible” is consistent, then there is a model of set theory whose modal logic of forcing is S4.2 and whose modal logic of grounds is S5.

Theorem.  If  the theory “$L_\delta\prec L+\delta$ is inaccessible” is consistent, then there is a model of set theory whose modal logic of forcing is S5 and whose modal logic of grounds is S4.2.

Theorem. There is no model of set theory such that both its modal logic of forcing and its modal logic of grounds are S5.

The current article is a brief extended abstract (10 pages).  A fuller account with more detailed proofs and further information will be provided in a subsequent articl

eprints:  ar$\chi$iv | NI12059-SAS | Hamburg #450

George Leibman

George Joseph Leibman earned his Ph.D. under my supervision in June, 2004 at the CUNY Graduate Center. He was my first Ph.D. student. Being very interested both in forcing and in modal logic, it was natural for him to throw himself into the emerging developments at the common boundary of these topics.  He worked specifically on the natural extensions of the maximality principle where when one considers a fixed definable class $\Gamma$ of forcing notions.  This research engaged with fundamental questions about the connection between the forcing-theoretic properties of the forcing class $\Gamma$ and the modal logic of its forcing validities, and was a precursor of later work, including joint work, on the modal logic of forcing.

George Leibman

George Leibman

 

web page | math genealogy | MathSciNet | ar$\chi$iv | related posts

George Leibman, “Consistency Strengths of Modified Maximality Principles,” Ph.D. thesis, CUNY Graduate Center, 2004.  ar$\chi$iv

Abstract. The Maximality Principle MP is a scheme which states that if a sentence of the language of ZFC is true in some forcing extension $V^{\mathbb{P}}$, and remains true in any further forcing extension of $V^{\mathbb{P}}$, then it is true in all forcing extensions of $V$.  A modified maximality principle $\text{MP}_\Gamma$ arises when considering forcing with a particular class $\Gamma$ of forcing notions. A parametrized form of such a principle, $\text{MP}_\Gamma(X)$, considers formulas taking parameters; to avoid inconsistency such parameters must be restricted to a specific set $X$ which depends on the forcing class $\Gamma$ being considered. A stronger necessary form of such a principle, $\square\text{MP}_\Gamma(X)$, occurs when it continues to be true in all $\Gamma$ forcing extensions.

This study uses iterated forcing, modal logic, and other techniques to establish consistency strengths for various modified maximality principles restricted to various forcing classes, including ccc, COHEN, COLL (the forcing notions that collapse ordinals to $\omega$), ${\lt}\kappa$ directed closed forcing notions, etc., both with and without parameter sets. Necessary forms of these principles are also considered.

Structural connections between a forcing class and its modal logic

  • J. D. Hamkins, G. Leibman, and B. Löwe, “Structural connections between a forcing class and its modal logic,” Israel J. Math., vol. 207, iss. 2, pp. 617-651, 2015.  
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    eprint = {1207.5841},
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The modal logic of forcing arises when one considers a model of set theory in the context of all its forcing extensions, interpreting $\square$ as “in all forcing extensions” and $\Diamond$ as “in some forcing extension”. In this modal language one may easily express sweeping general forcing principles, such as $\Diamond\square\varphi\to\square\Diamond\varphi$, the assertion that every possibly necessary statement is necessarily possible, which is valid for forcing, or $\Diamond\square\varphi\to\varphi$, the assertion that every possibly necessary statement is true, which is the maximality principle, a forcing axiom independent of but equiconsistent with ZFC (see A simple maximality principle).

Every definable forcing class similarly gives rise to the corresponding forcing modalities, for which one considers extensions only by forcing notions in that class. In previous work, we proved that if ZFC is consistent, then the ZFC-provably valid principles of the class of all forcing are precisely the assertions of the modal theory S4.2 (see The modal logic of forcing). In this article, we prove that the provably valid principles of collapse forcing, Cohen forcing and other classes are in each case exactly S4.3; the provably valid principles of c.c.c. forcing, proper forcing, and others are each contained within S4.3 and do not contain S4.2; the provably valid principles of countably closed forcing, CH-preserving forcing and others are each exactly S4.2; and the provably valid principles of $\omega_1$-preserving forcing are contained within S4.tBA. All these results arise from general structural connections we have identified between a forcing class and the modal logic of forcing to which it gives rise, including the connection between various control statements, such as buttons, switches and ratchets, and their corresponding forcing validities. These structural connections therefore support a forcing-only analysis of other diverse forcing classes.

Preprints available at:  ar$\chi$iv | NI12055-SAS | UvA ILLC PP-2012-19 | HBM 446

The set-theoretical multiverse

  • J. D. Hamkins, “The set-theoretic multiverse,” Review of Symbolic Logic, vol. 5, pp. 416-449, 2012.  
    @ARTICLE{Hamkins2012:TheSet-TheoreticalMultiverse,
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The Multiverse by KaeltykThe multiverse view in set theory, introduced and argued for in this article, is the view that there are many distinct concepts of set, each instantiated in a corresponding set-theoretic universe. The universe view, in contrast, asserts that there is an absolute background set concept, with a corresponding absolute set-theoretic universe in which every set-theoretic question has a definite answer. The multiverse position, I argue, explains our experience with the enormous diversity of set-theoretic possibilities, a phenomenon that challenges the universe view. In particular, I argue that the continuum hypothesis is settled on the multiverse view by our extensive knowledge about how it behaves in the multiverse, and as a result it can no longer be settled in the manner formerly hoped for.

Multiversive at n-Category Cafe | Multiverse on Mathoverflow

The set-theoretical multiverse: a natural context for set theory, Japan 2009

  • J. D. Hamkins, “The Set-theoretic Multiverse : A Natural Context for Set Theory,” Annals of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science, vol. 19, pp. 37-55, 2011.  
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This article is based on a talk I gave at the conference in honor of the retirement of Yuzuru Kakuda in Kobe, Japan, March 7, 2009. I would like to express my gratitude to Kakuda-sensei and the rest of the logic group in Kobe for the opportunities provided to me to participate in logic in Japan. In particular, my time as a JSPS Fellow in the logic group at Kobe University in 1998 was a formative experience. I was part of a vibrant research group in Kobe; I enjoyed Japanese life, learned to speak a little Japanese and made many friends. Mathematically, it was a productive time, and after years away how pleasant it is for me to see that ideas planted at that time, small seedlings then, have grown into tall slender trees.

Set theorists often take their subject as constituting a foundation for the rest of mathematics, in the sense that other abstract mathematical objects can be construed fundamentally as sets. In this way, they regard the set-theoretic universe as the universe of all mathematics. And although many set-theorists affirm the Platonic view that there is just one universe of all sets, nevertheless the most powerful set-theoretic tools developed over the past half century are actually methods of constructing alternative universes. With forcing and other methods, we can now produce diverse models of ZFC set theory having precise, exacting features. The fundamental object of study in set theory has thus become the model of set theory, and the subject consequently begins to exhibit a category-theoretic second-order nature. We have a multiverse of set-theoretic worlds, connected by forcing and large cardinal embeddings like constellations in a dark sky. In this article, I will discuss a few emerging developments illustrating this second-order nature. The work engages pleasantly with various philosophical views on the nature of mathematical existence.

Slides

 

Some second order set theory

  • J. D. Hamkins, “Some second order set theory,” in Logic and its applications, R.~Ramanujam and S.~Sarukkai, Eds., Berlin: Springer, 2009, vol. 5378, pp. 36-50.  
    @INCOLLECTION{Hamkins2009:SomeSecondOrderSetTheory,
    AUTHOR = {Hamkins, Joel David},
    TITLE = {Some second order set theory},
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    SERIES = {Lecture Notes in Comput.~Sci.},
    VOLUME = {5378},
    PAGES = {36--50},
    PUBLISHER = {Springer},
    EDITOR = {R.~Ramanujam and S.~Sarukkai},
    ADDRESS = {Berlin},
    YEAR = {2009},
    MRCLASS = {03E35 (03B45 03E40)},
    MRNUMBER = {2540935 (2011a:03053)},
    DOI = {10.1007/978-3-540-92701-3_3},
    URL = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-92701-3_3},
    }

This article surveys two recent developments in set theory sharing an essential second-order nature, namely, the modal logic of forcing, oriented upward from the universe of set theory to its forcing extensions; and set-theoretic geology, oriented downward from the universe to the inner models over which it arises by forcing. The research is a mixture of ideas from several parts of logic, including, of course, set theory and forcing, but also modal logic, finite combinatorics and the philosophy of mathematics, for it invites a mathematical engagement with various philosophical views on the nature of mathematical existence.

The modal logic of forcing

  • J. D. Hamkins and B. Löwe, “The modal logic of forcing,” Trans.~Amer.~Math.~Soc., vol. 360, iss. 4, pp. 1793-1817, 2008.  
    @ARTICLE{HamkinsLoewe2008:TheModalLogicOfForcing,
    AUTHOR = {Hamkins, Joel David and L{\"o}we, Benedikt},
    TITLE = {The modal logic of forcing},
    JOURNAL = {Trans.~Amer.~Math.~Soc.},
    FJOURNAL = {Transactions of the American Mathematical Society},
    VOLUME = {360},
    YEAR = {2008},
    NUMBER = {4},
    PAGES = {1793--1817},
    ISSN = {0002-9947},
    CODEN = {TAMTAM},
    MRCLASS = {03E40 (03B45)},
    MRNUMBER = {2366963 (2009h:03068)},
    MRREVIEWER = {Andreas Blass},
    DOI = {10.1090/S0002-9947-07-04297-3},
    URL = {},
    eprint = {math/0509616},
    archivePrefix = {arXiv},
    primaryClass = {math.LO},
    file = F
    }

What are the most general principles in set theory relating forceability and truth? As with Solovay’s celebrated analysis of provability, both this question and its answer are naturally formulated with modal logic. We aim to do for forceability what Solovay did for provability. A set theoretical assertion $\psi$ is forceable or possible, if $\psi$ holds in some forcing extension, and necessary, if $\psi$ holds in all forcing extensions. In this forcing interpretation of modal logic, we establish that if ZFC is consistent, then the ZFC-provable principles of forcing are exactly those in the modal theory known as S4.2.

Follow-up article:  Structural connections between a forcing class and its modal logic