October 23
Gabriel Goldberg, University of Berkeley
Ultrapowers and the approximation property

Countably complete ultrafilters are the combinatorial manifestation of strong large cardinal axioms, but many of their basic properties are undecidable no matter the large cardinal axioms one is willing to adopt. The Ultrapower Axiom (UA) is a set theoretic principle that permits the development of a much clearer picture of countably complete ultrafilters and, consequently, the large cardinals from which they derive. It is not known whether UA is (relatively) consistent with very large cardinals, but assuming there is a canonical inner model with a supercompact cardinal, the answer should be yes: this inner model should satisfy UA and yet inherit all large cardinals present in the universe of sets. The predicted resemblance between the large cardinal structure of this model and that of the universe itself is so extreme as to suggest that certain consequences of UA must in fact be provable outright from large cardinal axioms. While the inner model theory of supercompact cardinals remains a major open problem, this talk will describe a technique that already permits a number of consequences of UA to be replicated from large cardinals alone. Still, the technique rests on the existence of inner models that absorb large cardinals, but instead of building canonical inner models, one takes ultrapowers.