Plenary talk, 16th International Congress of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science and Technology, CLMPST 2019, Prague

I shall be giving a keynote plenary talk for the 16th International Congress of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science and Technology (CLMPST 2019), to be held 5-10 August 2019  at the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences in the beautiful city of Prague .  The CLMPST congress is held every four years, and the theme of the 2019 meeting is, “Bridging across academic cultures.”

Can set-theoretic mereology serve as a foundation of mathematics?

Abstract: Mereology, the study of the relation of part to whole, is often contrasted with set theory and its membership relation, the relation of element to set. Whereas set theory has found comparative success in the foundation of mathematics, since the time of Cantor, Zermelo and Hilbert, mereology is strangely absent. Can a set-theoretic mereology, based upon the set-theoretic inclusion relation ⊆ rather than the element-of relation ∈, serve as a foundation of mathematics? Can we faithfully interpret arbitrary mathematical structure in terms of the subset relation to the same extent that set theorists have done so in terms of the membership relation? At bottom, the question is: can we get by with merely ⊆ in place of ∈? Ultimately, I shall identify grounds supporting generally negative answers to these questions, concluding that set-theoretic mereology by itself cannot serve adequately as a foundational theory.

Please join me in Prague!  See the Call for Papers, requesting contributed papers and contributed symposia on twenty different thematic sections, from mathematical and philosophical logic to the philosophy of science, philosophy of computing and many other areas. I am given to understand that this will be a large meeting, with about 800 participants expected.

On the strengths of the class forcing theorem and clopen class game determinacy, Prague set theory seminar, January 2018

This will be a talk for the Prague set theory seminar, January 24, 11:00 am to about 2pm (!).

Abstract. The class forcing theorem is the assertion that every class forcing notion admits corresponding forcing relations. This assertion is not provable in Zermelo-Fraenkel ZFC set theory or Gödel-Bernays GBC set theory, if these theories are consistent, but it is provable in stronger second-order set theories, such as Kelley-Morse KM set theory. In this talk, I shall discuss the exact strength of this theorem, which turns out to be equivalent to the principle of elementary transfinite recursion ETRord for class recursions on the ordinals. The principle of clopen determinacy for class games, in contrast, is strictly stronger, equivalent over GBC to the full principle of ETR for class recursions over arbitrary class well-founded relations. These results and others mark the beginnings of the emerging subject I call the reverse mathematics of second-order set theory.

The exact strength of the class forcing theorem | Open determinacy for class games

The universal algorithm and the universal finite set, Prague 2018

This will be a talk at the Prague Gathering of Logicians & Beauty of Logic 2018, January 25-27, 2018.

Abstract. The universal algorithm is a Turing machine program $e$ that can in principle enumerate any finite sequence of numbers, if run in the right model of PA, and furthermore, can always enumerate any desired extension of that sequence in a suitable end-extension of that model. The universal finite set is a $\Sigma_2$ definition that can in principle define any finite set, in the right model of set theory, and can always define any desired finite extension of that set in a suitable top-extension of that model. I shall give an account of both results and describe applications to the model theory of arithmetic and set theory.

Slides | Lecture notes