Model theory is the branch of mathematical logic which deals with the connection between a formal language and its interpretations, or models.

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Is there a 0-1 law for the theory of groups?

Several months ago, Dominik asked the question Is there a 0-1 law for the theory of groups? on mathstackexchange, but although his question received attention there is still no answer. By asking the ...
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What are some results in mathematics that have snappy proofs using model theory?

I am preparing to teach a short course on "applied model theory" at UGA this summer. To draw people in, I am looking to create a BIG LIST of results in mathematics that have nice proofs using model ...
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Heuristic argument that finite simple groups _ought_ to be “classifiable”?

Obviously there exists a list of the finite simple groups, but why should it be a nice list, one that you can write down? Solomon's AMS article goes some way toward a historical / technical ...
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Is the ultraproduct concept fundamentally category-theoretic?

Once again, I would like to take advantage of the large number of knowledgable category theorists on this site for a question I have about category-theoretic aspects of a fundamental logic concept. ...
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Is $π$ definable in $(\Bbb R,0,1,+,×,<,\exp)$?

(This question is originally from Math.SE, where it didn't receive any answers.) Is there a first-order formula $\phi(x) $ with exactly one free variable $ x $ in the language of ordered fields ...
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Has decidability got something to do with primes?

Note: I have modified the question to make it clearer and more relevant. That makes some of references to the old version no longer hold. I hope the victims won't be furious over this. Motivation: ...
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Is the field of constructible numbers known to be decidable?

By the field of constructible numbers I mean the union of all finite towers of real quadratic extensions beginning with $\mathbb{Q}$. By decidable I mean the set of first order truths in this field, ...
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A preprint of Sela concerning the work of Kharlampovich-Miyasnikov

Yesterday, Z. Sela published a preprint in arXiv which claims that the solution of Olga Kharlampovich and Alexi Miyasnikov for the Tarski problem on decidablity of the first order theories of free ...
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Composite pairs of the form n!-1 and n!+1

It's well known that the numbers of the form $n!\pm1$ are not always prime. Indeed, Wilson's Theorem guarantees that $(p-2)!-1$ and $(p-1)!+1$ are composite for every prime number $p > 5$. Is ...
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What's a magical theorem in logic?

Some theorems are magical: their hypotheses are easy to meet, and when invoked (as lemmas) in the midst of an otherwise routine proof, they deliver the desired conclusion more or less ...
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Illustrating Edward Nelson's Worldview with Nonstandard Models of Arithmetic

Mathematician Edward Nelson is known for his extreme views on the foundations of mathematics, variously described as "ultrafintism" or "strict finitism" (Nelson's preferred term), which came into the ...
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Supervenience in mathematics

I'm not quite sure if this is the right place to ask, and if this is the right way to ask, but I dare. In philosophy (of mind, e.g.) the concept of supervenience is used: "Supervenience [is] used ...
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Interactions between (set theory, model theory) and (algebraic geometry, algebraic number theory ,…)

Set theory and model theory have many applications outside of logic, in particular in algebra, topology, analysis, ... On the other hand model theory, in particular after Hrushovski, found many ...
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What are some proofs of Godel's Theorem which are *essentially different* from the original proof?

I am looking for examples of proofs of Godel's (First) Incompleteness Theorem which are essentially different from (Rosser's improvement of) Godel's original proof. This is partly inspired by ...
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The Closure-Complement-Intersection Problem

Background Let $A$ be a subset of a topological space $X$. An old problem asks, by applying various combinations of closure and complement operations, how many distinct subsets of $X$ can you ...
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Reasons to believe Vopenka's principle/huge cardinals are consistent

There are a number of informal heuristic arguments for the consistency of ZFC, enough that I am happy enough to believe that ZFC is consistent. This is true for even some of the more tame large ...
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Isomorphism types or structure theory for nonstandard analysis

My question is about nonstandard analysis, and the diverse possibilities for the choice of the nonstandard model R*. Although one hears talk of the nonstandard reals R*, there are of course many ...
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Main open computational problems in quantifier elimination?

A language is said to have quantifier elimination if every first-order-logic sentence in the language can be shown to be equivalent to a quantifier-free sentence, i.e., a sentence without any ...
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What is Realistic Mathematics?

This post is partially about opinions and partially about more precise mathematical questions. Most of this post is not as formal as a precise mathematical question. However, I hope that most readers ...
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Completeness vs Compactness in logic

One standard approach to showing compactness of first-order logic is to show completeness, of which compactness is an easy corollary. I am told this approach is deprecated nowadays, as Compactness is ...
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Three questions on large simple groups and model theory

Yesterday, in the short course on model theory I am currently teaching, I gave the following nice application of downward Lowenheim-Skolem which I found in W. Hodges A Shorter Model Theory: Thm: Let ...
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Universe view vs. Multiverse view of Set Theory

Here I refer to Hamkins' slides: http://lumiere.ens.fr/~dbonnay/files/talks/hamkins.pdf particularly, to the "Universe view simulated inside Multiverse", p. 22. My question is: is it very unsound ...
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What is the spectrum of possible cofinality types for cuts in an ordered field? Or in a model of the hyperreals? Or in a nonstandard model of arithmetic?

I am interested to know the full range of possibilities for the cofinality type of cuts in an ordered field and in other structures, such as nonstandard models of arithmetic. Definitions. ...
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Is non-existence of the hyperreals consistent with ZF?

I know that it is possible to construct the hyperreal number system in ZFC by using the axiom of choice to obtain a non-principal ultrafilter. Would the non-existence of a set of hyperreals be ...
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Which graphs are elementarily equivalent to their own disjoint sums?

In Stefan Geschke's recent question, one of the solutions observed that the graph consisting of a single infinite beaded chain, a $\mathbb{Z}$-chain where each integer is connected to its nearest ...
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Existence property for ordered fields

A theory $T$ has the existence property (EP) if the following holds: Let $\phi(x)$ be a formula with one free variable (and no parameters) such that $T \vdash (\exists x) \phi(x)$. Then there is ...
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Defining $\mathbb{Z}$ in $\mathbb{Q}$

It was proved by Poonen that $\mathbb{Z}$ is definable in $\mathbb{Q}$ using $\forall \exists$ formula. Koenigsmann has shown that $\mathbb{Z}$ is in fact definable by universal formula. What is the ...
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Connes' embedding conjecture for uncountable groups

In this topic, I will use the word uncountable group referring to groups whose cardinality is $\leq|\mathbb R|$. Notation: $R$ is the hyperfinite $II_1$-factor, $\omega$ is a free ultrafilter on the ...
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Varieties where every algebra is free

I'd like to know more about varieties (in the sense of universal algebra) where every algebra is free. Another way to state the condition is that the comparison functor from the Kleisli category to ...
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Non-ZFC set theory and nonuniqueness of the hyperreals: problem solved?

The reals are the unique complete ordered field. The hyperreals $\mathbb{R}^\*$ are not unique in ZFC, and many people seemed to think this was a serious objection to them. Abraham Robinson responded ...
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In model theory, does compactness easily imply completeness?

Recall the two following fundamental theorems of mathematical logic: Completeness Theorem: A theory T is syntactically consistent -- i.e., for no statement P can the statement "P and (not P)" be ...
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Are there as many real-closed fields of a given cardinality as I think there are?

Let $\kappa$ be an infinite cardinal. Then there exists at least one real-closed field of cardinality $\kappa$ (e.g. Lowenheim-Skolem; or, start with a function field over $\mathbb{Q}$ in $\kappa$ ...
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Is there a known natural model of Peano Arithmetic where Goodstein's theorem fails?

(I've previously asked this question on the sister site here, but got no responses). Goodstein's Theorem is the statement that every Goodstein sequence eventually hits 0. It turns out that this ...
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(Finite) Classification Theory

In the context of asking about the classification of finite simple groups, the question arose: what exactly is meant by a "classification"? Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is in fact a whole branch of ...
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Can Suslin (or Aronszajn) lines ever be orderings of abelian groups?

I am interested in realizing linear orders as orderings of abelian groups. In particular, can Suslin lines (and other classes of line) be realised in this way? Let $\mathcal{C}$ be a class of ...
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The interplay between certain aspects of interpretability, model theory and category theory

I have some questions about the interplay of interpretability, model theory and category theory. Since I had difficulties in finding literature or other helpful information about this topic, it would ...
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Can we recognize when a category is equivalent to the category of models of a first order theory?

Many of the most canonical early examples of categories arise as the collection of models of a fixed first order theory, with the related model-theoretic concept of homomorphism. For example, the ...
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Pointwise algebraic models of set theory

Let $\mathfrak{M} = \langle M, E \rangle$ be a structure for the language of set theory, and take some $B \subseteq M$ and $m \in M$. Say that $m$ is definable over $B$ iff there is a formula ...
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Where is the end of universe?

In some sense the empty set ($\emptyset$) and the global set of all sets ($G$) are the ends of the universe of mathematical objects. The world which $ZFC$ describes has an end from the bottom and is ...
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Is there a nonstandard model of arithmetic having precisely one inductive truth predicate?

$\newcommand\Tr{\text{Tr}}$My question is whether there can be a nonstandard model of PA having a unique inductive truth predicate. Background. If $\mathcal{N}=\langle N,+,\cdot,0,1,<\rangle$ is ...
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Hrushovski's Construction

Zilber expressed a conjecture for $\aleph_{1}$- categorical theories (In the 80s). Zilber's Conjecture: The geometry of any $\aleph_{1}$- categorical structure is one of the following: (a) Trivial ...
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Uses of bisimulation outside of computer science.

Bisimulation is one of the most important ideas of theoretical computer science. I was wondering whether bisimilarity is used/known outside of computer science/modal logic? I am aware that it ...
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Intuition for Model Theoretic Proof of the Nullstellensatz

I recently read the model-theoretic proof of the Nullstellensatz using quantifier elimination (see www.msri.org/publications/books/Book39/files/marker.pdf). I'm convinced that the Nullstellensatz is ...
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Category theory and model theory as “natural” counterparts

I am aware of the profound discussion of the relationship between category theory and model theory (e.g. at The n-Category Café) but do wonder why category theory (CT) is not opposed to model theory ...
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Is “approximate categoricity” absolute?

Let $T$ be a countable first-order theory, and assume that $T$ has exactly one atomic model up to isomorphism in every uncountable cardinality. (By "atomic" I mean a model which omits the ...
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How badly does compactness fail in $\mathcal{L}_{\omega_1\omega}$?

I would like to get a better idea of how badly compactness fails in $\mathcal{L}_{\omega_1\omega}$. Let $\Gamma$ be an arbitrary set of sentences from $\mathcal{L}_{\omega_1\omega}$. Let the ...
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Inconsistency and workaday independence.

Set-theoretic topologists, for example, encounter many propositions that turn out independent from set theory. Sometimes these results require novel forcing arguments, but often they simply rely on ...
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First order decidability of rings vs Diophantine decidability

Are there known (preferably ``concrete'') examples of a ring $R$ (commutative, with 1) such that: $\bullet$ the first order theory of $R$ is undecidable, but $\bullet$ the positive existential (= ...
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Is there a relational countable ultra-homogeneous structure whose countable substructures do not have the amalgamation property?

The question can be stated in a fashion not requiring much background: Let $M$ be a countable ultra-homogeneous relational structure - namely, a countable set equipped with a bunch of relations on ...
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Is ramification of number fields first order?

Fix a prime number $p$. Is there a first order sentence $\phi_p$ in the language of fields such that $\phi_p$ holds in a number field $K$ if and only if the prime $p$ is unramified in the field ...