The strength of Mac Lane set theory

Annals of Pure and Applied Logic 110 (1-3):107-234 (2001)
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Saunders Mac Lane has drawn attention many times, particularly in his book Mathematics: Form and Function, to the system of set theory of which the axioms are Extensionality, Null Set, Pairing, Union, Infinity, Power Set, Restricted Separation, Foundation, and Choice, to which system, afforced by the principle, , of Transitive Containment, we shall refer as . His system is naturally related to systems derived from topos-theoretic notions concerning the category of sets, and is, as Mac Lane emphasises, one that is adequate for much of mathematics. In this paper we show that the consistency strength of Mac Lane's system is not increased by adding the axioms of Kripke–Platek set theory and even the Axiom of Constructibility to Mac Lane's axioms; our method requires a close study of Axiom H, which was proposed by Mitchell; we digress to apply these methods to subsystems of Zermelo set theory , and obtain an apparently new proof that is not finitely axiomatisable; we study Friedman's strengthening of , and the Forster–Kaye subsystem of , and use forcing over ill-founded models and forcing to establish independence results concerning and ; we show, again using ill-founded models, that proves the consistency of ; turning to systems that are type-theoretic in spirit or in fact, we show by arguments of Coret and Boffa that proves a weak form of Stratified Collection, and that is a conservative extension of for stratified sentences, from which we deduce that proves a strong stratified version of ; we analyse the known equiconsistency of with the simple theory of types and give Lake's proof that an instance of Mathematical Induction is unprovable in Mac Lane's system; we study a simple set theoretic assertion—namely that there exists an infinite set of infinite sets, no two of which have the same cardinal—and use it to establish the failure of the full schema of Stratified Collection in ; and we determine the point of failure of various other schemata in . The paper closes with some philosophical remarks



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