February 5
Andreas Blass, University of Michigan
Choice from Finite Sets: A Topos View

Tarski proved (but didn't publish) the theorem that choice from pairs implies choice from four-element sets. Mostowski (1937) began a systematic study of such implications between choice axioms for families of finite sets. Gauntt (1970) completed that study (but didn't publish the results), obtaining equivalent characterizations in terms of fixed points of permutation groups. Truss (1973) extended Gauntt's results (and published this work).

It turns out that these finite choice axioms and their group-theoretic characterizations are instances of the same topos-theoretic statements, interpreted in two very different classes of topoi. My main result is an extension of that observation to the class of all topoi.

Most of my talk will be explaining the background: finite choice axioms, permutation groups, and a little bit about topoi - just enough to make sense of the main result. If time permits, I'll describe some of the ingredients of the proof.