Conservativity theorem

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In mathematical logic, the conservativity theorem states the following: Suppose that a closed formula

\exists x_1\ldots\exists x_m\,\varphi(x_1,\ldots,x_m)

is a theorem of a first-order theory T. Let T_1 be a theory obtained from T by extending its language with new constants

a_1,\ldots,a_m

and adding a new axiom

\varphi(a_1,\ldots,a_m).

Then T_1 is a conservative extension of T, which means that the theory T_1 has the same set of theorems in the original language (i.e., without constants a_i\,\!) as the theory T.

In a more general setting, the conservativity theorem is formulated for extensions of a first-order theory by introducing a new functional symbol:

Suppose that a closed formula \forall \vec{y}\,\exists x\,\!\,\varphi(x,\vec{y}) is a theorem of a first-order theory T, where we denote \vec{y}:=(y_1,\ldots,y_n). Let T_1 be a theory obtained from T by extending its language with new functional symbol f\,\! (of arity n) and adding a new axiom \forall \vec{y}\,\varphi(f(\vec{y}),\vec{y}). Then T_1 is a conservative extension of T, i.e. the theories T and T_1 prove the same theorems not involving the functional symbol f\,\!).

References[edit]

  • Elliott Mendelson (1997). Introduction to Mathematical Logic (4th ed.) Chapman & Hall.
  • J.R. Shoenfield (1967). Mathematical Logic. Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.