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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

41
votes
3answers
1k views

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 ...
40
votes
18answers
4k views

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 ...
33
votes
5answers
2k views

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 ...
30
votes
7answers
2k views

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. ...
30
votes
1answer
879 views

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 ...
24
votes
4answers
2k views

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: ...
24
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
23
votes
4answers
1k views

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 ...
23
votes
3answers
471 views

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, ...
22
votes
15answers
4k views

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 ...
22
votes
3answers
1k views

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 ...
21
votes
6answers
3k views

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 ...
19
votes
5answers
2k views

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 ...
18
votes
3answers
1k views

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 ...
17
votes
1answer
689 views

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 ...
16
votes
7answers
4k views

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 ...
16
votes
6answers
2k views

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 ...
16
votes
5answers
1k views

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 ...
15
votes
10answers
2k views

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 ...
15
votes
6answers
1k views

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 ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
14
votes
1answer
556 views

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 ...
14
votes
1answer
194 views

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 ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

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 ...
13
votes
3answers
708 views

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 ...
13
votes
4answers
962 views

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 ...
13
votes
0answers
774 views

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 ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

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 ...
12
votes
3answers
977 views

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 $\kappa$ ...
12
votes
4answers
644 views

(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 ...
12
votes
2answers
673 views

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 ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

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 ...
12
votes
1answer
654 views

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 ...
12
votes
3answers
801 views

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 ...
11
votes
6answers
1k views

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 ...
11
votes
3answers
996 views

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 ...
11
votes
3answers
554 views

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 ...
11
votes
2answers
405 views

Constructible models of New Foundations?

Hi all! Is there anything like Gödel's constructible universe for New Foundations? More precisely, I would like a process for taking a model $M$ of NF, and using it to build a model $L \subseteq M$ ...
11
votes
1answer
309 views

Number of linear orders

It is well known that for every infinite cardinal $\kappa$ the number of non-isomorphic total orders of cardinality $\kappa$ is $2^\kappa$. Who first proved this, and in what context? Was it proved ...
11
votes
3answers
407 views

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 ...
11
votes
2answers
533 views

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 ...
11
votes
1answer
409 views

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 (= ...
11
votes
1answer
364 views

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 ...
11
votes
0answers
359 views

Hrushovski's Construction

Zilber expressed a conjecture for $\aleph_{1}$- categorical theories.(In 80s) Zilber's Conjecture: The geometry of any $\aleph_{1}$- categorical structure is one of the following: a) Trivial (No ...
11
votes
1answer
620 views

How are the two natural ways to define ''the category of models of a first-order theory T'' related?

Background/Motivation: Inspired by an interesting question by Joel, I've been wondering about the relationship between two very natural ways to define the category of ''all models of T'' where T is a ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

Intended interpretations of set theories

In his Set Theory. An Introduction to Indepencence Proofs, Kunen develops $ZFC$ from a platonistic point of view because he believes that this is pedagogically easier. When he talks about the intended ...
10
votes
4answers
654 views

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. ...
10
votes
3answers
889 views

How does categoricity interact with the underlying set theory?

Here's the setup: you have a first-order theory T, in a countable language L for simplicity. Let k be a cardinal and suppose T is k-categorical. This means that, for any two models M,N |= T of ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Is non-connectedness of graphs first order axiomatizable?

A recent question asked for graph properties that are first order axiomatizable but not finitely axiomatizable. Connectedness was mentioned in the context. Connectedness can be axiomatized in ...
10
votes
1answer
220 views

Are all complete finitely axiomatizable first order theories $\aleph_0$-categorical?

Suppose $T$ is a complete first order theory with a finite axiomatization. Must $T$ be $\aleph_0$-categorical? If not are there any simple examples of finitely axiomatized complete first order ...