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

Superstrong and other large cardinals are never Laver indestructible

  • J. Bagaria, J. D. Hamkins, K. Tsaprounis, and T. Usuba, “Superstrong and other large cardinals are never Laver indestructible,” to appear in Archive for Mathematical Logic (special issue in honor of Richard Laver).  
    @ARTICLE{BagariaHamkinsTsaprounisUsuba:SuperstrongAndOtherLargeCardinalsAreNeverLaverIndestructible,
    author = {Joan Bagaria and Joel David Hamkins and Konstantinos Tsaprounis and Toshimichi Usuba},
    title = {Superstrong and other large cardinals are never {Laver} indestructible},
    journal = {to appear in Archive for Mathematical Logic (special issue in honor of Richard Laver)},
    year = {},
    volume = {},
    number = {},
    pages = {},
    month = {},
    note = {},
    abstract = {},
    keywords = {},
    eprint = {1307.3486},
    archivePrefix = {arXiv},
    primaryClass = {math.LO},
    url = {http://jdh.hamkins.org/superstrong-never-indestructible/},
    comment = {http://jdh.hamkins.org/superstrong-never-indestructible/},
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    }

Abstract.  Superstrong cardinals are never Laver indestructible. Similarly, almost huge cardinals, huge cardinals, superhuge cardinals, rank-into-rank cardinals, extendible cardinals, $1$-extendible cardinals, $0$-extendible cardinals, weakly superstrong cardinals, uplifting cardinals, pseudo-uplifting cardinals, superstrongly unfoldable cardinals, $\Sigma_n$-reflecting cardinals, $\Sigma_n$-correct cardinals and $\Sigma_n$-extendible cardinals (all for $n\geq 3$) are never Laver indestructible. In fact, all these large cardinal properties are superdestructible: if $\kappa$ exhibits any of them, with corresponding target $\theta$, then in any forcing extension arising from nontrivial strategically ${\lt}\kappa$-closed forcing $\mathbb{Q}\in V_\theta$, the cardinal $\kappa$ will exhibit none of the large cardinal properties with target $\theta$ or larger.

The large cardinal indestructibility phenomenon, occurring when certain preparatory forcing makes a given large cardinal become necessarily preserved by any subsequent forcing from a large class of forcing notions, is pervasive in the large cardinal hierarchy. The phenomenon arose in Laver’s seminal result that any supercompact cardinal $\kappa$ can be made indestructible by ${\lt}\kappa$-directed closed forcing. It continued with the Gitik-Shelah treatment of strong cardinals; the universal indestructibility of Apter and myself, which produced simultaneous indestructibility for all weakly compact, measurable, strongly compact, supercompact cardinals and others; the lottery preparation, which applies generally to diverse large cardinals; work of Apter, Gitik and Sargsyan on indestructibility and the large-cardinal identity crises; the indestructibility of strongly unfoldable cardinals; the indestructibility of Vopenka’s principle; and diverse other treatments of large cardinal indestructibility. Based on these results, one might be tempted to the general conclusion that all the usual large cardinals can be made indestructible.

In this article, my co-authors and I temper that temptation by proving that certain kinds of large cardinals cannot be made nontrivially indestructible. Superstrong cardinals, we prove, are never Laver indestructible. Consequently, neither are almost huge cardinals, huge cardinals, superhuge cardinals, rank-into-rank cardinals, extendible cardinals and $1$-extendible cardinals, to name a few. Even the $0$-extendible cardinals are never indestructible, and neither are weakly superstrong cardinals, uplifting cardinals, pseudo-uplifting cardinals, strongly uplifting cardinals, superstrongly unfoldable cardinals, $\Sigma_n$-reflecting cardinals, $\Sigma_n$-correct cardinals and $\Sigma_n$-extendible cardinals, when $n\geq 3$. In fact, all these large cardinal properties are superdestructible, in the sense that if $\kappa$ exhibits any of them, with corresponding target $\theta$, then in any forcing extension arising from nontrivial strategically ${\lt}\kappa$-closed forcing $\mathbb{Q}\in V_\theta$, the cardinal $\kappa$ will exhibit none of the large cardinal properties with target $\theta$ or larger. Many quite ordinary forcing notions, which one might otherwise have expected to fall under the scope of an indestructibility result, will definitely ruin all these large cardinal properties. For example, adding a Cohen subset to any cardinal $\kappa$ will definitely prevent it from being superstrong—as well as preventing it from being uplifting, $\Sigma_3$-correct, $\Sigma_3$-extendible and so on with all the large cardinal properties mentioned above—in the forcing extension.

Main Theorem. 

  1. Superstrong cardinals are never Laver indestructible.
  2. Consequently, almost huge, huge, superhuge and rank-into-rank cardinals are never Laver indestructible.
  3. Similarly, extendible cardinals, $1$-extendible and even $0$-extendible cardinals are never Laver indestructible.
  4. Uplifting cardinals, pseudo-uplifting cardinals, weakly superstrong cardinals, superstrongly unfoldable cardinals and strongly uplifting cardinals are never Laver indestructible.
  5. $\Sigma_n$-reflecting and indeed $\Sigma_n$-correct cardinals, for each finite $n\geq 3$, are never Laver indestructible.
  6. Indeed—the strongest result here, because it is the weakest notion—$\Sigma_3$-extendible cardinals are never Laver indestructible.

In fact, each of these large cardinal properties is superdestructible. Namely, if $\kappa$ exhibits any of them, with corresponding target $\theta$, then in any forcing extension arising from nontrivial strategically ${\lt}\kappa$-closed forcing $\mathbb{Q}\in V_\theta$, the cardinal $\kappa$ will exhibit none of the mentioned large cardinal properties with target $\theta$ or larger.

The proof makes use of a detailed analysis of the complexity of the definition of the ground model in the forcing extension.  These results are, to my knowledge, the first applications of the ideas of set-theoretic geology not making direct references to set-theoretically geological concerns.

Theorem 10 in the article answers (the main case of) a question I had posed on MathOverflow, namely, Can a model of set theory be realized as a Cohen-subset forcing extension in two different ways, with different grounds and different cardinals?  I had been specifically interested there to know whether a cardinal $\kappa$ necessarily becomes definable after adding a Cohen subset to it, and theorem 10 shows indeed that it does:  after adding a Cohen subset to a cardinal, it becomes $\Sigma_3$-definable in the extension, and this fact can be seen as explaining the main theorem above.

Related MO question | CUNY talk