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The following is a continuation of this question.

I would like to prove that the Lindenbaum algebra is a free algebra. Hopefully I would like to hear hints on how to proceed in the 'right' direction.

Let $X$ be a set of propositional variables, $M$ the set of all boolean expressions over $X$ and $L = M/_{\sim}$ the partition of $M$ into logically equivalent sentences.

The claim is that $L$ is free over $X$ with respect to the map $e:X \mapsto L$ defined as $e(x) = [x]$ where $[x]$ denotes the equivalence class of $x \in X.$

Let $B$ be any boolean algebra and $f:X\mapsto B$ any function. We want to argue that there is precisely one homomorphism $\overline{f}:L\mapsto B$ so that $\overline{f}\circ e = f.$ The only choice I see is to extend the map defined as $$\overline{f}([a]) = f(x) \; \hbox{if} \; x \in X \; \hbox{and} \; [x] = [a]$$

to a homomorphism in the natural way (if $[a]$ is not the equivalence class of propositional element then apply $\overline{f}$ to recursively to the subterms of a compound element in $[a]$)

The following seems like the wrong way to do it since then one has many technicalities to show.

  1. $\overline{f}$ is well defined.

  2. That $\overline{f}$ is indeed the only possible homomorphism. Is it valid to use an inductive argument to show that if $\overline{g}$ is another such homomorphism then it has to be that $\overline{f} = \overline{g}$ since $f,g$ agree for all elements that are equivalence classes of propositional variables and any other element in $L$ is a finite expression of these?

As said I believe I haven't defined $\overline{f}$ in a convenient way to allow me to prove the necessary conditions.

Is there a better way to approach this?

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how does this question relate to model theory? also, what's not obvious about 2.? – tomasz Jun 18 '12 at 20:50
Lindenbaum algebra is usually a model for propositional logic. – Jernej Jun 18 '12 at 20:53
Well, the reals are usually a model for a real closed field, and that doesn't mean that anything related to them is model-theoretic. I don't mean to be rude, I was just curious as to whether there was something I missed about it (since at first I thought it was the Lindenbaum algebra of actual formulas, which is much more common in model theory afaik). – tomasz Jun 18 '12 at 20:56
up vote 2 down vote accepted

What you’re doing is fine: you want to define $\bar f$ by structural recursion on formulas of $L$. The base of it is what you already have: $\bar f\big([x]\big)=f(x)$ for $x\in X$. Now if $\varphi,\psi\in L$ and $\bar f\big([\varphi]\big)$ and $\bar f\big([\psi]\big)$ have been defined, let

$$\begin{align*} &\bar f\big([\varphi\lor\psi]\big)=\bar f\big([\varphi]\big)\lor\bar f\big([\psi]\big),\\ &\bar f\big([\varphi\land\psi]\big)=\bar f\big([\varphi]\big)\land\bar f\big([\psi]\big),\text{ and }\\ &\bar f\big([\lnot\varphi]\big)=\lnot\bar f\big([\varphi]\big)\;. \end{align*}$$

You know that if $\varphi\equiv\varphi'$ and $\psi\equiv\psi'$, then $\varphi\lor\psi\equiv\varphi'\lor\psi'$, $\varphi\land\psi\equiv\varphi'\land\psi'$, and $\lnot\varphi\equiv\lnot\varphi'$, so $\bar f$ is well-defined. To show that $\bar f$ is unique, just do what you sketched in (2): show by structural induction (parallel to the structural recursion defining $\bar f$) that if $g:L\to B$ is a homomorphism such that $g\!\upharpoonright\! X=f$, then $g=\bar f$.

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Thank you! $ \; \; $ – Jernej Jun 19 '12 at 12:42

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