Finitisation in Bounded Arithmetic

Søren Riis

August 1994


I prove various results concerning un-decidability in weak fragments of Arithmetic. All results are concerned with tex2html_wrap_inline36 a hierarchy of theories which have already been intensively studied in the literature. Ideally one would like to separate these systems. However this is generally expected to be a very deep problem, closely related to some of the most famous and open problems in complexity theory.

In order to throw some light on the separation problems, I consider the case where the underlying language is enriched by extra relation and function symbols. The paper introduces a new type of results. These state that the first three levels in the hierarchy (i.e. tex2html_wrap_inline38 and tex2html_wrap_inline40) are never able to distinguish (in a precise sense) the ``finite'' from the ``infinite''. The fourth level (i.e. tex2html_wrap_inline42) in some cases can make such a distinction. More precisely, elementary principles from finitistical combinatorics (when expressed solely by the extra relation and function symbols) are only provable on the first three levels if they are valid when considered as principles of general (infinitistical) combinatorics. I show that this does not hold for the fourth level.

All results are proved by forcing.

Available as PostScript, PDF, DVI.


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