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Starting from the cardinal $|\Bbb N| = \aleph_0 = \beth_0$, we can generate a larger cardinal in two ways:

  1. Take the set of all subsets, generating the cardinal $\beth_1$
  2. Take the set of all well-order-types (up to isomorphism), generating the cardinal $\aleph_1$

I am wondering if, rather than well-order-types, we can take other order-types (up to isomorphism) to generate different cardinals. Are any of these known?

  1. The set of all total order-types of $\aleph_0$
  2. The set of all partial order-types of $\aleph_0$

  3. The set of all preorder-types of $\aleph_0$

where these are all taken up to isomorphism.

Are the cardinalities of any of these known? Do any lead to another type of cardinal similar to the $\aleph$ or $\beth$ cardinals? How much of AC is required to talk about these?

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  • $\begingroup$ Since total orders are special types of partial orders, 2 and 3 are the same. $\endgroup$ – Noah Schweber Feb 9 at 22:36
  • $\begingroup$ Oops, that's from an earlier edit. Removed $\endgroup$ – Mike Battaglia Feb 9 at 22:37
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There's an easy construction which lets us show that there are continuum-many countable ordertypes up to isomorphism: given any infinite sequence of natural numbers $f$, consider the order $$A_f=\mathbb{Z}+f(0)+\mathbb{Z}+f(1)+...=\sum_{i\in\mathbb{N}}[\mathbb{Z}+f(i)].$$ It's easy to check that $A_f\cong A_g\iff f=g$. This immediately implies that all the other numbers are also continuum.


And note that we can do this for arbitrary infinite cardinalities: given $f:\kappa\rightarrow\{0,1\}$, let $$A^\kappa_f=\sum_{\eta<\kappa}[\mathbb{Z}+f(\eta)].$$ Again we have $A_f^\kappa\cong A_g^\kappa$ iff $f=g$.

So for every infinite cardinal $\kappa$, there are $2^\kappa$-many isomorphism types of linear orders of size $\kappa$. (And AC was never used at any point in the above.)

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    $\begingroup$ @MikeBattaglia Not a single number, but a finite linear ordering of length $f(i)$, between copies of Z. $\endgroup$ – Ned Feb 9 at 23:36
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    $\begingroup$ @MikeBattaglia There is a natural way to view the set of all linear orderings of $\mathbb{N}$ as a Polish space $\mathcal{L}$. In this light, Burgess' theorem says that any analytic equivalence relation on $\mathcal{L}$ has either countably many, $\aleph_1$-many, or continuum-many equivalence classes. What does this have to do with counting orderings of a given type? Well, given a class $C$ of linear orders (e.g. the well-orderings), let $\equiv_C$ be the equivalence relation on $\mathcal{L}$ given by pushing all the "non-$C$" orders together, and being isomorphism otherwise. (cont'd) $\endgroup$ – Noah Schweber Feb 10 at 0:44
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    $\begingroup$ That is, $A\equiv_CB$ iff (neither $A$ or $B$ is in $C$) or ($A\cong B$). So for example: taking $C$ to be the class of well-orderings, $\mathcal{L}/\equiv_C$ has one element for each countable ordinal, and then one more element for "not well-ordered." So we're just counting the $\equiv_C$-classes, essentially. The point is that Burgess tells us that we can never hope to get anything other than $\le\aleph_0$, $\aleph_1$, or $2^{\aleph_0}$ using any kind of ordering which yields an analytic equivalence relation. For example, $C$=well-orderings does give an analytic equivalence relation. $\endgroup$ – Noah Schweber Feb 10 at 0:47
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    $\begingroup$ (And Silver's theorem, which is easier, shows that coanalytic equivalence relations are even tamer: they get either countably many or continuum-many classes.) So tentatively, I'd say that you're never going to find a natural way to whip up (say) $\aleph_2$ this way (even after granting the clearly-necessary assumption of $\neg$CH). $\endgroup$ – Noah Schweber Feb 10 at 0:48
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    $\begingroup$ All this falls into the general descriptive-set-theoretic picture of cardinals in between $\aleph_0$ and continuum being "difficult to exhibit." Incidentally, things get weirder at higher cardinals, but that's a separate issue. $\endgroup$ – Noah Schweber Feb 10 at 0:51

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