# nLab model complete theory

model theory

## Dimension, ranks, forking

• forking and dividing?

• Morley rank?

• Shelah 2-rank?

• Lascar U-rank?

• Vapnik–Chervonenkis dimension?

# Contents

## Idea

Model completeness is a property of first-order theories (in the same way that existential closedness is a property of first-order structures) meant to generalize the properties of the theory ACF of algebraically closed fields.

As discussed in Hodges’ Model theory:

In the early 1950s Abraham Robinson noticed that certain maps studied by algebraists are in fact elementary embeddings. If you choose a map at random, the chances of it being an elementary embedding are negligible. So Robinson reckoned that there must be a systematic reason for the appearance of these elementary embeddings, and he set out to find what the reason was.

In the course of this quest he introduced the notions of model complete theories, companionable theories and model companions?. These notions have become essential tools for the model theory of algebra.

## Definition

We say a first-order theory $T$ is model complete if every embedding (not necessarily elementary) between models of $T$ is elementary.

The following characterization appears as Theorem 8.3.1 in (Hodges93):

###### Theorem

Let $T$ be as above. The following are equivalent:

1. $T$ is model complete.

2. Every model of $T$ is existentially closed.

3. For every embedding $A \hookrightarrow B$ where $A$ and $B$ model $T$, there exists an elementary extension $D$ of $A$ and an embedding $g : B \to D$ such that the triangle commutes.

4. Every existential formula is equivalent (mod $T$) to a universal formula.

5. Every formula is equivalent (mod $T$) to a universal formula.

## Remarks

• A theory $T$ is model complete if and only if for every model $A$ of $T$, the quantifier-free diagram $T_{\mathsf{Diag}(A)}$ (whose models are precisely the models of $T$ containing $A$ as an embedded substructure) is complete.

• Analogously, a theory $T$ is substructure complete if and only if for every model $A$ of $T$ and every substructure $B \subseteq A$, the quantifier-free diagram $T_{\mathsf{Diag}(B)}$ is complete.

• A model complete theory is an “existentially closed theory” in the sense that all of its models are existentially closed models.

• As mentioned above, substructure completeness implies model completeness because every elementary submodel is also a substructure. The proposition below shows that the converse holds with some additional assumptions.

## Model completeness + amalgamation property implies substructure completeness

###### Proposition

Suppose the first-order theory $T$ in the language $\mathcal{L}$ is model complete and has the property that for any two models $X,Y \models T$ and a mutual $\mathcal{L}$-substructure $A \hookrightarrow X,Y$, the latter span in the category of $\mathcal{L}$-structures and embeddings has a cocone $Z$ which is also a model of $T$.

Then $T$ is substructure complete.

This property of being able to “amalgamate” the models $X$ and $Y$ over the common substructure $A$ is sometimes called the amalgamation property, though this terminology is rather overloaded (c.f. Fraisse limit).

###### Proof

Let $A$ be a substructure of some model $M \models T$. Append the quantifier-free diagram of $A$ to $T$ to form $T_{\mathsf{Diag}(A)}$. Suppose towards a contradiction that $\varphi$ is a sentence which is undecided by $T_{\mathsf{Diag}(A)}$; let $X$ and $Y$ be models of $T_{\mathsf{Diag}(A)}$ which witness this, so that $X \models \varphi$ while $Y \models \neg \varphi$.

Let $Z$ amalgamate $X$ and $Y$ over $A$.

By model completeness, the theory $T_{\mathsf{Diag}(X)}$ of $T$-models (not necessarily elementarily) embedding $X$ is complete. Abuse notation and replace the instances of constants from $A$ in $\varphi$ with their images in $X$. Either $T_{\mathsf{Diag}(X)} \models \varphi$ or $T_{\mathsf{Diag}(X)} \models \neg \varphi$. Since $X$ certainly embeds itself and $X \models \varphi$, $T_{\mathsf{Diag}(X)} \models \varphi$.

Similarly, $T_{\mathsf{Diag}(Y)} \models \neg \varphi.$

Now, on one hand, the theory $T_{\mathsf{Diag}(X)} \cup T_{\mathsf{Diag}(Y)}/A$ (where we glue along the copies of $A$ in $\mathsf{Diag}(X)$ and $\mathsf{Diag}(Y)$) entails both $\varphi$ and $\neg \varphi$, which makes it inconsistent. This theory therefore has no models.

On the other hand, this theory axiomatizes the class of amalgams of $X$ and $Y$ over $A$ in the category of $\mathcal{L}$-structures and embeddings, so in particular is modelled by $Z$, a contradiction.

• Wilfrid Hodges, Model theory, Cambridge Univ. Press 1993