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?

Boolean ultrapowers, the Bukovský-Dehornoy phenomenon, and iterated ultrapowers

[bibtex key=”FuchsHamkins:TheBukovskyDehornoyPhenomenonForBooleanUltrapowers”]

Abstract. We show that while the length $\omega$ iterated ultrapower by a normal ultrafilter is a Boolean ultrapower by the Boolean algebra of Příkrý forcing, it is consistent that no iteration of length greater than $\omega$ (of the same ultrafilter and its images) is a Boolean ultrapower. For longer iterations, where different ultrafilters are used, this is possible, though, and we give Magidor forcing and a generalization of Příkrý forcing as examples. We refer to the discovery that the intersection of the finite iterates of the universe by a normal measure is the same as the generic extension of the direct limit model by the critical sequence as the Bukovský-Dehornoy phenomenon, and we develop a criterion (the existence of a simple skeleton) for when a version of this phenomenon holds in the context of Boolean ultrapowers.

Ehrenfeucht’s lemma in set theory

[bibtex key=FuchsGitmanHamkins2018:EhrenfeuchtsLemmaInSetTheory]

This is joint work with Gunter Fuchs and Victoria Gitman. $\newcommand\HOD{\text{HOD}}\newcommand\Ehrenfeucht{\text{EL}}$

Abstract. Ehrenfeucht’s lemma asserts that whenever one element of a model of Peano arithmetic is definable from another, then they satisfy different types. We consider here the analogue of Ehrenfeucht’s lemma for models of set theory. The original argument applies directly to the ordinal-definable elements of any model of set theory, and in particular, Ehrenfeucht’s lemma holds fully for models of set theory satisfying $V=\HOD$. We show that the lemma can fail, however, in models of set theory with $V\neq\HOD$, and it necessarily fails in the forcing extension to add a generic Cohen real. We go on to formulate a scheme of natural parametric generalizations of Ehrenfeucht’s lemma, namely, the principles of the form $\Ehrenfeucht(A,P,Q)$, which asserts that whenever an object $b$ is definable in $M$ from some $a\in A$ using parameters in $P$, with $b\neq a$, then the types of $a$ and $b$ over $Q$ in $M$ are different. We also consider various analogues of Ehrenfeucht’s lemma obtained by using algebraicity in place of definability, where a set $b$ is \emph{algebraic} in $a$ if it is a member of a finite set definable from $a$ (as in J. D. Hamkins and C. Leahy, Algebraicity and implicit definability in set theory). Ehrenfeucht’s lemma holds for the ordinal-algebraic sets, we prove, if and only if the ordinal-algebraic and ordinal-definable sets coincide. Using similar analysis, we answer two open questions posed in my paper with Leahy, by showing that (i) algebraicity and definability need not coincide in models of set theory and (ii) the internal and external notions of being ordinal algebraic need not coincide.

Incomparable $\omega_1$-like models of set theory

[bibtex key=FuchsGitmanHamkins2017:IncomparableOmega1-likeModelsOfSetTheory]

This is joint work with Gunter Fuchs and Victoria Gitman.

Abstract. We show that the analogues of the Hamkins embedding theorems, proved for the countable models of set theory, do not hold when extended to the uncountable realm of $\omega_1$-like models of set theory. Specifically, under the $\diamondsuit$ hypothesis and suitable consistency assumptions, we show that there is a family of $2^{\omega_1}$ many $\omega_1$-like models of $\text{ZFC}$, all with the same ordinals, that are pairwise incomparable under embeddability; there can be a transitive $\omega_1$-like model of ZFC that does not embed into its own constructible universe; and there can be an $\omega_1$-like model of PA whose structure of hereditarily finite sets is not universal for the $\omega_1$-like models of set theory.

In this article, we consider the question of whether the embedding theorems of my article, Every countable model of set theory embeds into its own constructible universe, which concern the countable models of set theory, might extend to the realm of uncountable models. Specifically, in that paper I had proved that (1) any two countable models of set theory are comparable by embeddability; indeed, (2) one countable model of set theory embeds into another just in case the ordinals of the first order-embed into the ordinals of the second; consequently, (3) every countable model of set theory embeds into its own constructible universe; and furthermore, (4) every countable model of set theory embeds into the hereditarily finite sets $\langle\text{HF},{\in}\rangle^M$ of any nonstandard model of arithmetic $M\models\text{PA}$. The question we consider here is, do the analogous results hold for uncountable models? Our answer is that they do not. Indeed, we shall prove that the corresponding statements do not hold even in the special case of $\omega_1$-like models of set theory, which otherwise among uncountable models often exhibit a special affinity with the countable models. Specifically, we shall construct large families of pairwise incomparable $\omega_1$-like models of set theory, even though they all have the same ordinals; we shall construct $\omega_1$-like models of set theory that do not embed into their own $L$; and we shall construct $\omega_1$-like models of \PA\ that are not universal for all $\omega_1$-like models of set theory.

The embedding theorems are expressed collectively in the theorem below. An embedding of one model $\langle M,{\in^M}\rangle$ of set theory into another $\langle N,{\in^N}\rangle$ is simply a function $j:M\to N$ for which $x\in^My\longleftrightarrow j(x)\in^Nj(y)$, for all $x,y\in M$, and in this case we say that $\langle M,{\in^M}\rangle$ embeds into $\langle N,{\in^N}\rangle$; note by extensionality that every embedding is injective. Thus, an embedding is simply an isomorphism of $\langle M,{\in^M}\rangle$ with its range, which is a submodel of $\langle N,{\in^N}\rangle$. Although this is the usual model-theoretic embedding concept for relational structures, the reader should note that it is a considerably weaker embedding concept than commonly encountered in set theory, because this kind of embedding need not be elementary nor even $\Delta_0$-elementary, although clearly every embedding as just defined is elementary at least for quantifier-free assertions. So we caution the reader not to assume a greater degree of elementarity beyond quantifier-free elementarity for the embeddings appearing in this paper.


1. For any two countable models of set theory $\langle M,\in^M\rangle$ and $\langle N,\in^N\rangle$, one of them embeds into the other.

2. Indeed, such an $\langle M,{\in^M}\rangle$ embeds into $\langle N,{\in^N}\rangle$ if and only if the ordinals of $M$ order-embed into the ordinals of $N$.

3. Consequently, every countable model $\langle M,\in^M\rangle$ of set theory embeds into its own constructible universe $\langle L^M,\in^M\rangle$.

4. Furthermore, every countable model of set theory embeds into the hereditary finite sets $\langle \text{HF},{\in}\rangle^M$ of any nonstandard model of arithmetic $M\models\text{PA}$. Indeed, $\text{HF}^M$ is universal for all countable acyclic binary relations.

One can begin to get an appreciation for the difference in embedding concepts by observing that ZFC proves that there is a nontrivial embedding $j:V\to V$, namely, the embedding recursively defined as follows $$j(y)=\bigl\{\ j(x)\ \mid\ x\in y\ \bigr\}\cup\bigl\{\{\emptyset,y\}\bigr\}.$$

We leave it as a fun exercise to verify that $x\in y\longleftrightarrow j(x)\in j(y)$ for the embedding $j$ defined by this recursion. (See my paper Every countable model of set theory embeds into its own constructible universe; but to give a hint here for the impatient, note that every $j(y)$ is nonempty and also $\emptyset\notin j(y)$; it follows that inside $j(y)$ we may identify the pair $\{\emptyset,y\}\in j(y)$; it follows that $j$ is injective and furthermore, the only way to have $j(x)\in j(y)$ is from $x\in y$.} Contrast this situation with the well-known Kunen inconsistency, which asserts that there can be no nontrivial $\Sigma_1$-elementary embedding $j:V\to V$. Similarly, the same recursive definition applied in $L$ leads to nontrivial embeddings $j:L\to L$, regardless of whether $0^\sharp$ exists. But again, the point is that embeddings are not necessarily even $\Delta_0$-elementary, and the familiar equivalence of the existence of $0^\sharp$ with a nontrivial “embedding” $j:L\to L$ actually requires a $\Delta_0$-elementary embedding.)

We find it interesting to note in contrast to the theorem above that there is no such embedding phenomenon in the the context of the countable models of Peano arithmetic (where an embedding of models of arithmetic is a function preserving all atomic formulas in the language of arithmetic). Perhaps the main reason for this is that embeddings between models of PA are automatically $\Delta_0$-elementary, as a consequence of the MRDP theorem, whereas this is not true for models of set theory, as the example above of the recursively defined embedding $j:V\to V$ shows, since this is an embedding, but it is not $\Delta_0$-elementary, in light of $j(\emptyset)\neq\emptyset$. For countable models of arithmetic $M,N\models\text{PA}$, one can show that there is an embedding $j:M\to N$ if and only if $N$ satisfies the $\Sigma_1$-theory of $M$ and the standard system of $M$ is contained in the standard system of $N$. It follows that there are many instances of incomparability. Meanwhile, it is a consequence of statement (4) that the embedding phenomenon recurs with the countable models of finite set theory $\text{ZFC}^{\neg\infty}$, that is, with $\langle\text{HF},{\in}\rangle^M$ for $M\models\text{PA}$, since all nonstandard such models are universal for all countable acyclic binary relations, and so in the context of countable models of $\text{ZFC}^{\neg\infty}$ there are precisely two bi-embeddability classes, namely, the standard model, which is initial, and the nonstandard countable models, which are universal.

Our main theorems are as follows.


1. If $\diamondsuit$ holds and ZFC is consistent, then there is a family $\mathcal C$ of $2^{\omega_1}$ many pairwise incomparable $\omega_1$-like models of ZFC, meaning that there is no embedding between any two distinct models in $\mathcal C$.

2. The models in statement (1) can be constructed so that their ordinals order-embed into each other and indeed, so that the ordinals of each model is a universal $\omega_1$-like linear order. If ZFC has an $\omega$-model, then the models of statement (1) can be constructed so as to have precisely the same ordinals.

3. If $\diamondsuit$ holds and ZFC is consistent, then there is an $\omega_1$-like model $M\models\text{ZFC}$ and an $\omega_1$-like model $N\models\text{PA}$ such that $M$ does not embed into $\langle\text{HF},{\in}\rangle^N$.

4. If there is a Mahlo cardinal, then in a forcing extension of $L$, there is a transitive $\omega_1$-like model $M\models\text{ZFC}$ that does not embed into its own constructible universe $L^M$.

Note that the size of the family $\mathcal C$ in statement (1) is as large as it could possibly be, given that any two elements in a pairwise incomparable family of structures must be non-isomorphic and there are at most $2^{\omega_1}$ many isomorphism types of $\omega_1$-like models of set theory or indeed of structures of size $\omega_1$ in any first-order finite language. Statement (2) shows that the models of the family $\mathcal C$ serve as $\omega_1$-like counterexamples to the assertion that one model of set theory embeds into another whenever the ordinals of the first order-embed into the ordinals of the second.

Set-theoretic geology

[bibtex key=FuchsHamkinsReitz2015:Set-theoreticGeology]

A ground of the universe V is a transitive proper class W subset V, such that W is a model of ZFC and V is obtained by set forcing over W, so that V = W[G] for some W-generic filter G subset P in W . The model V satisfies the ground axiom GA if there are no such W properly contained in V . The model W is a bedrock of V if W is a ground of V and satisfies the ground axiom. The mantle of V is the intersection of all grounds of V . The generic mantle of V is the intersection of all grounds of all set-forcing extensions of V . The generic HOD, written gHOD, is the intersection of all HODs of all set-forcing extensions. The generic HOD is always a model of ZFC, and the generic mantle is always a model of ZF. Every model of ZFC is the mantle and generic mantle of another model of ZFC. We prove this theorem while also controlling the HOD of the final model, as well as the generic HOD. Iteratively taking the mantle penetrates down through the inner mantles to what we call the outer core, what remains when all outer layers of forcing have been stripped away. Many fundamental questions remain open.

Degrees of rigidity for Souslin trees

[bibtex key=FuchsHamkins2009:DegreesOfRigidity]

We investigate various strong notions of rigidity for Souslin trees, separating them under Diamond into a hierarchy. Applying our methods to the automorphism tower problem in group theory, we show under Diamond that there is a group whose automorphism tower is highly malleable by forcing.

Changing the heights of automorphism towers by forcing with Souslin trees over $L$

[bibtex key=FuchsHamkins2008:ChangingHeightsOverL]

We prove that there are groups in the constructible universe whose automorphism towers are highly malleable by forcing. This is a consequence of the fact that, under a suitable diamond hypothesis, there are sufficiently many highly rigid non-isomorphic Souslin trees whose isomorphism relation can be precisely controlled by forcing.

In an earlier paper with Simon Thomas, “Changing the heights of automorphism towers,” we had added such malleable groups by forcing, and the current paper addresses the question as to whether there are such groups already in L.