# A question on essentially undecidable first-order theories

I am trying to show the following equivalence: a (consistent) first-order theory $T$ is essentially undecidable if and only if every complete extension of $T$ is undecidable. By "$T$ is essentially undecidable" I mean that any consistent extension of $T$ is undecidable. So clearly the forward direction is obvious.

So far, my idea for the reverse direction is to suppose, towards contradiction, that there exists a consistent extension $S$ of $T$ such that the theory generated by $S$, denoted $Th_S$, is decidable. I now want to prove that for any decidable theory there exists a decidable complete extension, but I do not know how to construct such a complete extension.

Any advice would be much appreciated! Thanks!

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 Why the low accept rate? – Brett Frankel Apr 18 '12 at 2:41

What one needs to do is to suppose that $S$ is so that $Th_S$ is decidable. Then one can build up recursively a complete extension $S^*$ of $Th_S$.