Past Set Theory Seminar

10 March 2021
16:00
to
17:30
Peter Koellner
Abstract

Let us say that a theory $T$ in the language of set theory is $\beta$-consistent at $\alpha$ if there is a transitive model of $T$ of height $\alpha$, and let us say that it is $\beta$-categorical at $\alpha$ iff there is at most one transitive model of $T$ of height $\alpha$. Let us also assume, for ease of formulation, that there are arbitrarily large $\alpha$ such that $\mathrm{ZFC}$ is $\beta$-consistent at $\alpha$.

The sentence $\mathrm{VEL}$ has the feature that $\mathrm{ZFC}+\mathrm{VEL}$ is $\beta$-categorical at $\alpha$, for every $\alpha$. If we assume in addition that $\mathrm{ZFC}+\mathrm{VEL}$ is $\beta$-consistent at $\alpha$, then the uniquely determined model is $L_\alpha$, and the minimal such model, $L_{\alpha_0}$, is model of determined by the $\beta$-categorical theory $\mathrm{ZFC}+\mathrm{VEL}+M$, where $M$ is the statement "There does not exist a transitive model of $\mathrm{ZFC}$."

It is natural to ask whether $\mathrm{VEL}$ is the only sentence that can be $\beta$-categorical at $\alpha$; that is, whether, there can be a sentence $\phi$ such that $\mathrm{ZFC}+\phi$ is $\beta$-categorical at $\alpha$, $\beta$-consistent at $\alpha$, and where the unique model is not $L_\alpha$.  In the early 1970s Harvey Friedman proved a partial result in this direction. For a given ordinal $\alpha$, let $n(\alpha)$ be the next admissible ordinal above $\alpha$, and, for the purposes of this discussion, let us say that an ordinal $\alpha$ is minimal iff a bounded subset of $\alpha$ appears in $L_{n(\alpha)}\setminus L_\alpha$. [Note that $\alpha_0$ is minimal (indeed a new subset of $\omega$ appears as soon as possible, namely, in a $\Sigma_1$-definable manner over $L_{\alpha_0+1}$) and an ordinal $\alpha$ is non-minimal iff $L_{n(\alpha)}$ satisfies that $\alpha$ is a cardinal.] Friedman showed that for all $\alpha$ which are non-minimal, $\mathrm{VEL}$ is the only sentence that is $\beta$-categorical at $\alpha$. The question of whether this is also true for $\alpha$ which are minimal has remained open.

In this talk I will describe some joint work with Hugh Woodin that bears on this question. In general, when approaching a "lightface" question (such as the one under consideration) it is easier to first address the "boldface" analogue of the question by shifting from the context of $L$ to the context of $L[x]$, where $x$ is a real. In this new setting everything is relativized to the real $x$: For an ordinal $\alpha$, we let $n_x(\alpha)$ be the first $x$-admissible ordinal above $\alpha$, and we say that $\alpha$ is $x$-minimal iff a bounded subset of $\alpha$ appears in $L_{n_x(\alpha)}[x]\setminus L_{\alpha}[x]$.

Theorem. Assume $M_1^\#$ exists and is fully iterable. There is a sentence $\phi$ in the language of set theory with two additional constants, \r{c} and \r{d}, such that for a Turing cone of $x$, interpreting \r{c} by $x$, for all $a$

  1. if $L_\alpha[x]\vDash\mathrm{ZFC}$ then there is an interpretation of \r{d}  by something in $L_\alpha[x]$ such that there is a $\beta$-model of $\mathrm{ZFC}+\phi$ of height $\alpha$ and not equal to $L_\alpha[x]$, and
  2. if, in addition, $\alpha$ is $x$-minimal, then there is a unique $\beta$-model of $\mathrm{ZFC}+\phi$ of height $\alpha$ and not equal to $L_\alpha[x]$.

The sentence $\phi$ asserts the existence of an object which is external to $L_\alpha[x]$ and which, in the case where $\alpha$ is minimal, is canonical. The object is a branch $b$ through a certain tree in $L_\alpha[x]$, and the construction uses techniques from the HOD analysis of models of determinacy.

In this talk I will sketch the proof, describe some additional features of the singleton, and say a few words about why the lightface version looks difficult.

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24 February 2021
16:00
to
17:30
Andrew Marks
Abstract

We characterize which Borel functions are decomposable into
a countable union of functions which are piecewise continuous on
$\Pi^0_n$ domains, assuming projective determinacy. One ingredient of
our proof is a new characterization of what Borel sets are $\Sigma^0_n$
complete. Another important ingredient is a theorem of Harrington that
there is no projective sequence of length $\omega_1$ of distinct Borel
sets of bounded rank, assuming projective determinacy. This is joint
work with Adam Day.

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3 February 2021
16:00
to
17:30
Spencer Unger
Abstract

We survey some recent progress in understanding stationary reflection at successors of singular cardinals and its influence on cardinal arithmetic:

1) In joint work with Yair Hayut, we reduced the consistency strength of stationary reflection at $\aleph_{\omega+1}$ to an assumption weaker than $\kappa$ is $\kappa^+$ supercompact.

2) In joint work with Yair Hayut and Omer Ben-Neria, we prove that from large cardinals it is consistent that there is a singular cardinal $\nu$ of uncountable cofinality where the singular cardinal hypothesis fails at nu and every collection of fewer than $\mathrm{cf}(\nu)$ stationary subsets of $\nu^+$ reflects at a common point.

The statement in the second theorem was not previously known to be consistent. These results make use of analysis of Prikry generic objects over iterated ultrapowers.

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20 January 2021
16:00
to
17:30
Abstract

Two classical results of Magidor are: 

(1) from large cardinals it is consistent to have reflection at $\aleph_{\omega+1}$, and 

(2) from large cardinals it is consistent to have the failure of SCH at $\aleph_\omega$.

These principles are at odds with each other. The former is a compactness type principle. (Compactness is the phenomenon where if a certain property holds for every smaller substructure of an object, then it holds for the entire object.) In contrast, failure of SCH is an instance of incompactness. The natural question is whether we can have both of these simultaneously. We show the answer is yes.

We describe a Prikry style iteration, and use it to force stationary reflection in the presence of not SCH.  Then we obtain this situation at $\aleph_\omega$. This is joint work with Alejandro Poveda and Assaf Rinot.

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2 December 2020
16:00
to
17:30
Abstract

An inner model is a ground if V is a set forcing extension of it. The intersection of the grounds is the mantle, an inner model of ZFC which enjoys many nice properties. Fuchs, Hamkins, and Reitz showed that the mantle is highly malleable. Namely, they showed that every model of set theory is the mantle of a bigger, better universe of sets. This then raises the possibility of iterating the definition of the mantle—the mantle, the mantle of the mantle, and so on, taking intersections at limit stages—to obtain even deeper inner models. Let’s call the inner models in this sequence the inner mantles.

In this talk I will present some results, both positive and negative, about the sequence of inner mantles, answering some questions of Fuchs, Hamkins, and Reitz, results which are analogues of classic results about the sequence of iterated HODs. On the positive side: (Joint with Reitz) Every model of set theory is the eta-th inner mantle of a class forcing extension for any ordinal eta in the model. On the negative side: The sequence of inner mantles may fail to carry through at limit stages. Specifically, it is consistent that the omega-th inner mantle not be a definable class and it is consistent that it be a definable inner model of ¬AC.

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18 November 2020
16:00
to
17:30
Gabriel Goldberg
Abstract

The Burali-Forti paradox suggests that the transfinite cardinals “go on forever,” surpassing any conceivable bound one might try to place on them. The traditional Zermelo-Frankel axioms for set theory fall into a hierarchy of axiomatic systems formulated by reasserting this intuition in increasingly elaborate ways: the large cardinal hierarchy. Or so the story goes. A serious problem for this already naive account of large cardinal set theory is the Kunen inconsistency theorem, which seems to impose an upper bound on the extent of the large cardinal hierarchy itself. If one drops the Axiom of Choice, Kunen’s proof breaks down and a new hierarchy of choiceless large cardinal axioms emerges. These axioms, if consistent, represent a challenge for those “maximalist” foundational stances that take for granted both large cardinal axioms and the Axiom of Choice. This talk concerns some recent advances in our understanding of the weakest of the choiceless large cardinal axioms and the prospect, as yet unrealized, of establishing their consistency and reconciling them with the Axiom of Choice.

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4 November 2020
16:00
to
17:30
Abstract

Aronszajn trees are a staple of set theory, but there are applications where the requirement of all levels being countable is of no importance. This is the case in set-theoretic model theory, where trees of height and size ω1 but with no uncountable branches play an important role by being clocks of Ehrenfeucht–Fraïssé games that measure similarity of model of size ℵ1. We call such trees wide Aronszajn. In this context one can also compare trees T and T’ by saying that T weakly embeds into T’ if there is a function f that map T into T’ while preserving the strict order <_T. This order translates into the comparison of winning strategies for the isomorphism player, where any winning strategy for T’ translates into a winning strategy for T’. Hence it is natural to ask if there is a largest such tree, or as we would say, a universal tree for the class of wood Aronszajn trees with weak embeddings. It was known that there is no such a tree under CH, but in 1994 Mekler and Väänanen conjectured that there would be under MA(ω1).

In our upcoming JSL  paper with Saharon Shelah we prove that this is not the case: under MA(ω1) there is no universal wide Aronszajn tree.

The talk will discuss that paper. The paper is available on the arxiv and on line at JSL in the preproof version doi: 10.1017/jsl.2020.42.

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17 June 2020
16:00
to
17:30
Philipp Schlicht
Abstract

Forcing axioms state that the universe inherits certain properties of generic extensions for a given class of forcings. They are usually formulated via the existence of filters, but several alternative characterisations are known. For instance, Bagaria (2000) characterised some forcing axioms via generic absoluteness for objects of size $\omega_1$. In a related new approach, we consider principles stating the existence of filters that induce correct evaluations of sufficiently simple names in prescribed ways. For example, for the properties ‘nonempty’ or ‘unbounded in $\omega_1$’, consider the principle: whenever this property is forced for a given sufficiently simple name, then there exists a filter inducing an evaluation with the same property. This class of principles turns out to be surprisingly general: we will see how to characterise most known forcing axioms, but also some combinatorial principles that are not known to be equivalent to forcing axioms. This is recent joint work in progress with Christopher Turner.

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27 May 2020
16:00
to
17:30
Abstract

Leibniz’s principle of identity of indiscernibles at first sight appears completely unrelated to set theory, but Mycielski (1995) formulated a set-theoretic axiom nowadays referred to as LM (for Leibniz-Mycielski) which captures the spirit of Leibniz’s dictum in the following sense:  LM holds in a model M of ZF iff M is elementarily equivalent to a model M* in which there is no pair of indiscernibles.  LM was further investigated in a 2004  paper of mine, which includes a proof that LM is equivalent to the global form of the Kinna-Wagner selection principle in set theory.  On the other hand, one can formulate a strong negation of Leibniz’s principle by first adding a unary predicate I(x) to the usual language of set theory, and then augmenting ZF with a scheme that ensures that I(x) describes a proper class of indiscernibles, thus giving rise to an extension ZFI of ZF that I showed (2005) to be intimately related to Mahlo cardinals of finite order. In this talk I will give an expository account of the above and related results that attest to a lively interaction between set theory and Leibniz’s principle of identity of indiscernibles.

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