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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    author = {Joel David Hamkins},
    title = {The {Vop\v{e}nka} principle is inequivalent to but conservative over the {Vop\v{e}nka} scheme},
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    year = {},
    volume = {},
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    pages = {},
    month = {},
    note = {manuscript under review},
    abstract = {},
    keywords = {},
    source = {},
    eprint = {1606.03778},
    archivePrefix = {arXiv},
    primaryClass = {math.LO},
    url = {http://jdh.hamkins.org/vopenka-principle-vopenka-scheme},
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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 $h$.

Norman Lewis Perlmutter

Norman Lewis Perlmutter successfully defended his dissertation under my supervision and will earn his Ph.D. at the CUNY Graduate Center in May, 2013.  His dissertation consists of two parts.  The first chapter arose from the observation that while direct limits of large cardinal embeddings and other embeddings between models of set theory are pervasive in the subject, there is comparatively little study of inverse limits of systems of such embeddings.  After such an inverse system had arisen in Norman’s joint work on Generalizations of the Kunen inconsistency, he mounted a thorough investigation of the fundamental theory of these inverse limits. In chapter two, he investigated the large cardinal hierarchy in the vicinity of the high-jump cardinals.  During this investigation, he ended up refuting the existence of what are now called the excessively hypercompact cardinals, which had appeared in several published articles.  Previous applications of that notion can be made with a weaker notion, what is now called a hypercompact cardinal.

Norman Lewis Perlmutter

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Norman Lewis Perlmutter, “Inverse limits of models of set theory and the large cardinal hierarchy near a high-jump cardinal”  Ph.D. dissertation for The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, May, 2013.

Abstract.  This dissertation consists of two chapters, each of which investigates a topic in set theory, more specifically in the research area of forcing and large cardinals. The two chapters are independent of each other.

The first chapter analyzes the existence, structure, and preservation by forcing of inverse limits of inverse-directed systems in the category of elementary embeddings and models of set theory. Although direct limits of directed systems in this category are pervasive in the set-theoretic literature, the inverse limits in this same category have seen less study. I have made progress towards fully characterizing the existence and structure of these inverse limits. Some of the most important results are as follows. If the inverse limit exists, then it is given by either the entire thread class or a rank-initial segment of the thread class. Given sufficient large cardinal hypotheses, there are systems with no inverse limit, systems with inverse limit given by the entire thread class, and systems with inverse limit given by a proper subset of the thread class. Inverse limits are preserved in both directions by forcing under fairly general assumptions. Prikry forcing and iterated Prikry forcing are important techniques for constructing some of the examples in this chapter.

The second chapter analyzes the hierarchy of the large cardinals between a supercompact cardinal and an almost-huge cardinal, including in particular high-jump cardinals. I organize the large cardinals in this region by consistency strength and implicational strength. I also prove some results relating high-jump cardinals to forcing.  A high-jump cardinal is the critical point of an elementary embedding $j: V \to M$ such that $M$ is closed under sequences of length $\sup\{\ j(f)(\kappa) \mid f: \kappa \to \kappa\ \}$.  Two of the most important results in the chapter are as follows. A Vopenka cardinal is equivalent to an Woodin-for-supercompactness cardinal. The existence of an excessively hypercompact cardinal is inconsistent.