[FOM] uncountable structures and core mathematics II
jbaldwin at uic.edu
Mon Feb 20 09:12:38 EST 2006
This is not a direct response to Harvey's questions since none of his
categories seem to me to express what I am about to describe.
The distinction between `pure' and `applied' model theory dates from the
very beginnings of the field (say the compactness theorem versus
quantifier elimination for the reals). This distinction was summarised
in the 70's as `East Coast' and `West Coast' Model Theory.
The talk called `Tameness' at
is very light reading (at least the beginning) and
gives what I hope is an entertaining survey of this distinction. I then
proceed to discuss how the study of structures with cardinality greater
than the continuum can influence `core mathematics'.
In particular, I point out the (almost universally accepted) fact that
there have been crucial methodological contributions. That is, techniques
invented by Shelah to study uncountable models were essential to
Hrushovski's solution of the geometric Mordell-Lang conjecture. And they
continue to play a crucial role in the work of Pillay, Scanlon, etc.
in differential field theory and compact manifolds.
But I also advance the more tenuous proposition that there are direct
connections between model theoretic properties of larger models and
currently popular mathematics.
The results discussed are mostly in ZFC -but some crucial points require
that cardinal exponential is a strictly increasing function (at least up
The underlying argument is that the understanding of uncountable
structures only advanced from the combinatorial to the algebraic with the
development of stability theory. This subject is well-known for first
order logic. I will discuss the role of infinitary logic in a
further note. A good starting place is the survey by Grossberg:
The actual mathematical exploration of
Cantor's paradise is the task of the next century.
John T. Baldwin
Director, Office of Mathematics Education
Department of Mathematics, Statistics,
and Computer Science M/C 249
jbaldwin at uic.edu
Room 327 Science and Engineering Offices (SEO)
851 S. Morgan
Chicago, IL 60607
Assistant to the director
Jan Nekola: 312-413-3750
More information about the FOM