Inner-model reflection principles

[bibtex key=”BartonCaicedoFuchsHamkinsReitzSchindler2020:Inner-model-reflection-principles”]


Abstract. We introduce and consider the inner-model reflection principle, which 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. These principles each express a form of width reflection in contrast to the usual height reflection of the Lévy-Montague reflection theorem. They are each equiconsistent with ZFC and indeed $\Pi_2$-conservative over ZFC, being forceable by class forcing while preserving any desired rank-initial segment of the universe. Furthermore, the inner-model reflection principle is a consequence of the existence of sufficient large cardinals, and lightface formulations of the reflection principles follow from the maximality principle MP and from the inner-model hypothesis IMH.

Every set theorist is familiar with the classical Lévy-Montague reflection principle, which explains how truth in the full set-theoretic universe $V$ reflects down to truth in various rank-initial segments $V_\theta$ of the cumulative hierarchy. Thus, the Lévy-Montague reflection principle is a form of height-reflection, in that truth in $V$ is reflected vertically downwards to truth in some $V_\theta$.

In this brief article, in contrast, we should like to introduce and consider a form of width-reflection, namely, reflection to nontrivial inner models. Specifically, we shall consider the following reflection principles.


  1. The inner-model reflection principle asserts that if a statement $\varphi(a)$ in the first-order language of set theory is true in the set-theoretic universe $V$, then there is a proper inner model $W$, a transitive class model of ZF containing all ordinals, with $a\in W\subsetneq V$ in which $\varphi(a)$ is true.
  2. The ground-model reflection principle asserts that if $\varphi(a)$ is true in $V$, then there is a nontrivial ground model $W\subsetneq V$ with $a\in W$ and $W\models\varphi(a)$.
  3. Variations of the principles arise by insisting on inner models of a particular type, such as ground models for a particular type of forcing, or by restricting the class of parameters or formulas that enter into the scheme.
  4. The lightface forms of the principles, in particular, make their assertion only for sentences, so that if $\sigma$ is a sentence true in $V$, then $\sigma$ is true in some proper inner model or ground $W$, respectively.

We explain how to force the principles, how to separate them, how they are consequences of various large cardinal assumptions, consequences of the maximality principle and of the inner model hypothesis. Kindly proceed to the article (pdf available at the arxiv) for more. [bibtex key=”BartonCaicedoFuchsHamkinsReitz:Inner-model-reflection-principles”]

This article grew out of an exchange held by the authors on math.stackexchange
in response to an inquiry posted by the first author concerning the nature of width-reflection in comparison to height-reflection:  What is the consistency strength of width reflection?

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