# Cohen topos and Boolean-valued models

I'm currently studying Sheaves in Geometry and Logic. I'm having a course in category theory and I needed to choose a topic to present, so I picked Topoi and Logic.

(If you wish to skip directly to the question, you can skip this)

One of the key topics in my presentation is the construction of the Cohen Topos, an example of forcing which I took directly from the book. However, I think it would be really underwhelming to call it "forcing" and present the steps without drawing any analogy to the set-theoretic case, or exaplaining "where's the forcing".

Unfortunately, there's not much in the book, aside from a mention that the method presented is closer to that of Boolean-valued models, and that the Boolean algebra in question is $$\Omega_{\neg \neg}$$. I know a little about the latter, that is, I know the basic Con(ZFC + $$\neg$$CH) argument presented in J L Bell's book, but I'm having a hard time coming up with some type of analogy or connection between the two approaches. Thus, I'd like to ask for a reference or some insight to help me understand better what's going on (in this specific case of independence of CH).

I'll put a passage from the book below, just for context:

This view does not appear so strongly in our presentation, which is more directly motivated by an alternative formulation in terms of "Boolean-valued" models of set theory, discovered by Scott and Solovay, not presented by them, but explained for example in a book by J. L. Bell. (A Boolean-valued model is one in which the validity of set-theoretic formulas is given by truth values lying in some large Boolean algebra in our presentation, the Boolean algebra $$\Omega_{\neg \neg}$$)

### My question

EDIT: It seems it is proved in Chapter 3 of Freyd's Models for the Independence of the Axiom of Choice that $$Sh_{\neg \neg}{(P)} \simeq V^{(B)}$$, the latter viewed as a topos with arrows $$f: X \to Y$$ s.t. $$V^{(B)} \models f: X \to Y$$.

First, an equivalence $$V^B \simeq Sh(RO(P)) = Sh(B)$$ (with the cover topology) is given as follows: for $$x \in V^{(B)}$$, take $$H(x)(b) = \{ y \mid b \Vdash y \in x \}$$ modulo the relation $$b \Vdash y = y^\prime$$ (where $$b \Vdash \phi$$ iff $$b \leq [\phi]^B$$). Then each arrow $$f: X \to Y$$ in $$V^{(B)}$$ as a category, that is $$V^{(B)} \models f: X \to Y$$, $$H(f)_b$$ takes $$y \in H(x)(b)$$ to the unique $$z$$ s.t. $$V^{(B)} \models f(y) = z$$.

Then we have another equivalence $$\phi: Sh(RO(P)) \simeq Sh_{\neg \neg}(P)$$. Let us write $$K = \phi H$$

In view of the above, to put it simply, my question is basically:

Let us take into consideration the standard topos-theoretic forcing $$\neg CH$$ construction $$Sh_{\neg \neg}(P)$$ (as in chapter VI of Sheaves in Geometry and Logic). What are the arguments doing "on the other side"? That is, what do the proofs/steps represent under this equivalence in the Boolean-valued universe setting? And conversely, can these steps be seen as fundamentally the "standard" ones or something similar coming from the Boolean-valued universe under this equivalence?

I also wanted to ask if there's some connection between sheaf semantics and forcing in Boolean-valued models under this equivalence (although it seems that the language of the former is type theory, so I don't know if that makes sense).

One example: letting $$\widehat{S}$$ be the constant sheaf construction and $$\check{x}$$ the representant of $$x$$ in $$V^B$$ ($$\check{\hspace{1mm}}: V \rightarrowtail V^B$$, $$\check{x} = \{(\check{y}, 1) \mid y \in x \}$$), is $$K(\check{X})$$ fundamentally the same as $$\widehat{X}$$? It seems to me that yes, using $$\widehat{X} \cong \bigsqcup_X \widehat{1}$$, left-exactness of sheafification and the fact $$K$$ is an equivalence, but I can't see it more directly. This seems to give a starting point.

Any help is appreciated.

• I have an answer somewhere on this site that indicates how you can view a forcing name as defining a sheaf, which I could probably dig up if it would help you. And then, on a basic level, using sheaves with respect to the double-negation topology corresponds to the parts of the traditional forcing construction that are put in to make "$q \Vdash \phi$ for a set of $q$ dense below $p$ implies $p \Vdash \phi$" true (I tend to think of the double-negation topology in terms of the equivalent "dense below" topology). Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 17:21
• The Boolean algebra-valued approach to forcing is basically to take $\{ p \in \mathbb{P} \mid p \Vdash \phi \}$ as the truth value of some statement in the forcing language. This is a downward-closed set which is also closed under the "dense below" condition; and the collection of all such downward-closed and dense-below-closed sets forms a Boolean algebra. Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 17:24
• @DanielSchepler thanks a lot! I'll take a look at your answer! You mean this one, right? math.stackexchange.com/questions/3095730/is-a-name-a-sheaf/… Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 17:37
• math.stackexchange.com/questions/3095730/is-a-name-a-sheaf/… Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 17:40
• Oh, and by the way, the Boolean algebra I described can be seen to be exactly the global sections of the subobject classifier $\Omega$ in the forcing topos. Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 17:45

Given any partial order $$P$$, we see that $$Sets^{P^{op}}$$ is generated by the subobjects of 1. In fact, it is generated by the representable functors, which are all subobjects of 1 in this case.

Therefore, $$Sh_{\neg \neg}(P)$$ will also be generated by subobjects of 1. Recall that a Grothendieck topos generated by subobjects of 1 is known as a localic topos; for such a topos $$T$$, there is an equivalence between $$T$$ and $$Sh(Sub_T(1))$$; the latter is the topos of sheaves on the complete Heyting algebra (that is, the locale) of subobjects of $$1$$ in $$T$$. So another description of a localic topos is one isomorphic to the topos of sheaves on a locale.

Localic toposes have some nice properties. Assuming the axiom of choice, every Boolean localic topos satisfies the external axiom of choice - that every epimorphism has a section. Conversely, assuming excluded middle, this theorem implies the axiom of choice, since $$Sets$$ itself is a Boolean localic topos (the topos of sheaves on $$2$$). So throughout, we will assume the axiom of choice (which is fine if we're doing relative consistency with ZFC).

We fix a complete Boolean algebra $$B$$. We are interested in $$Sh(B)$$ and in $$V^{(B)}$$ and their internal logics.

There are numerous ways of getting a model of IZF from a Grothendieck topos. In this case, we use a classic technique of Fourman which involves internally constructing the set hierarchy within a cocomplete topos $$T$$. For a complete and rigorous exposition, see his article "Sheaf models for set theory".

We define, for each ordinal $$\alpha$$, a pair $$(V_\alpha, \in_\alpha)$$. $$V_\alpha$$ is an object in $$Sh(B)$$, and $$\in_\alpha$$ is a subobject of $$V_\alpha^2$$. We additionally have that $$V$$ acts functorialy; for $$\alpha \leq \beta$$, there is a map $$i_{\alpha \leq \beta} : V_\alpha \to V_\beta$$, and these maps are functorial. We also want to have each $$i_{\alpha < \beta}$$ be a monomorphism, and we want $$\forall x, y \in V_\alpha (x \in_\alpha y \iff i_{\alpha \leq \beta}(x) \in_\beta i_{\alpha \leq \beta}(y))$$ to hold in the internal logic.

The definitions of these are as follows (using internal logic notation):

• $$V_0 = 0$$, and $$\in_0 = 0$$
• $$V_{\alpha + 1} = P(V_\alpha)$$. Define $$i_{\alpha \leq \alpha + 1}(x) = \{w \in V_\alpha \mid w \in_\alpha x\}$$. Define $$\in_{\alpha + 1} = \{(i_{\alpha \leq \alpha + 1}(x), y) \mid x \in_{V_\alpha} y\}$$.
• For $$\beta$$ a limit ordinal: Define $$V_\beta = colim_{\alpha < \beta} V_\alpha$$. For $$\alpha < \beta$$, let $$i_{\alpha \leq \beta}$$ be the colimit map $$V_\alpha \to colim_{\alpha < \beta} V_\alpha$$. Finally, let $$\in_\beta = \bigvee\limits_{\alpha < \beta} \{(i_{\alpha \leq \beta}(x), i_{\alpha \leq \beta}(y)) \mid x \in_\alpha y\}$$.

Feel free to carefully double-check that all the claimed are satisfied. Also feel free to double-check various other niceties - for example, show in the internal logic that $$\forall a, b \in V_\alpha (\forall c \in V_\alpha (c \in_\alpha a \iff c \in_\alpha b) \to a = b)$$.

We now define the grand interpretation of set theory. For every list of variables $$x_1, \ldots, x_n$$, every statement $$\phi(x_1, \ldots, x_n)$$ over them, and every choice of ordinals $$\beta_1, \ldots, \beta_n$$, we define the subobject $$\{(x_1, \ldots, x_n) \in V_{\beta_1} \times \cdots \times V_{\beta_n} \mid \phi(x_1, \ldots, x_n)\}$$ as follows:

• $$\{(x_1, \ldots, x_n) \in V_{\beta_1} \times \cdots \times V_{\beta_n} \mid \phi(x_1, \ldots, x_n) \land \psi(x_1, \ldots, x_n)\} = \{(x_1, \ldots, x_n) \in V_{\beta_1} \times \cdots \times V_{\beta_n} \mid \phi(x_1, \ldots, x_n)\} \land \{(x_1, \ldots, x_n) \in V_{\beta_1} \times \cdots \times V_{\beta_n} \mid \psi(x_1, \ldots, x_n)\}$$ (and analogously for $$\lor, \implies$$)
• $$\{(x_1, \ldots, x_n) \in V_{\beta_1} \times \cdots \times V_{\beta_n} \mid \top\} = V_{\beta_1} \times \cdots \times V_{\beta_n}$$
• $$\{(x_1, \ldots, x_n) \in V_{\beta_1} \times \cdots \times V_{\beta_n} \mid \bot\} = 0$$
• $$\{(x_1, \ldots, x_n) \in V_{\beta_1} \times \cdots \times V_{\beta_n} \mid \exists y \phi(x_1, \ldots, x_n, y)\} = \bigvee\limits_{\gamma \in Ord} \exists_y \{(x_1, \ldots, x_n, y) \in V_{\beta_1} \times \cdots \times V_{\beta_n} \times V_\gamma \mid \phi(x_1, \ldots, x_n, y)\}$$ (and analogously for $$\forall$$)
• $$\{(x_1, \ldots, x_n) \in V_{\beta_1} \times \cdots \times V_{\beta_n} \mid x_i = x_j\} = \{(x_1, \ldots, x_n) \in V_{\beta_1} \times \cdots \times V_{\beta_n} \mid i_{\beta_i \leq \max(\beta_i, \beta_j)}(x_i) = i_{\beta_j \leq \max(\beta_i, \beta_j)}(x_j)\}$$
• $$\{(x_1, \ldots, x_n) \in V_{\beta_1} \times \cdots \times V_{\beta_n} \mid x_i \in x_j\} = \{(x_1, \ldots, x_n) \in V_{\beta_1} \times \cdots \times V_{\beta_n} \mid i_{\beta_i \leq \max(\beta_i, \beta_j)}(x_i) \in_{\max(\beta_i, \beta_j)} i_{\beta_j \leq \max(\beta_i, \beta_j)}(x_j)\}$$

In particular, then, a sentence $$\phi$$ gives rise to the subobject $$\{- \in 1 \mid \phi\}$$. The "truth values" of sentences therefore lie in the complete heyting algebra $$Sub(T)$$. We denote the truth value of $$\phi$$ by $$||\phi||$$. In fact, we slightly generalize this. Given $$x_1 \in V_{\beta_1}(1), \ldots, x_n \in V_{\beta_n}(1)$$, we write $$||\phi(x_1, \ldots, x_n)||$$ to denote the largest $$U$$ such that $$(x_1, \ldots, x_n)|_U \in \{(x_1, \ldots, x_n) \in V_{\beta_1} \times \cdots \times V_{\beta_n} \mid \phi(x_1, \ldots, x_n)\}(U)$$.

One particular property which must be verified is that given $$\beta_1 \leq \gamma_1, \ldots, \beta_n \leq \gamma_n$$, the subobject $$\{(x_1, \ldots, x_n) \in V_{\beta_1} \times \cdots \times V_{\beta_n} \mid \phi(x_1, \ldots, x_n)\}$$ is the pullback of $$\{(y_1, \ldots, y_n) \in V_{\gamma_1} \times \ldots \times V_{\gamma_n} \mid \phi(y_1, \ldots, y_n)\}$$ along the map $$i_{\beta_1 \leq \gamma_1} \times \cdots \times i_{\beta_n \leq \gamma_n}$$. This property is sufficient to see that for $$x_1 \in V_{\beta_1}(1), \ldots, x_n \in V_{\beta_n}(1)$$, $$||\phi(x_1, \ldots, x_n)|| = ||\phi(i_{\beta_1 \leq \gamma_1}(x_1), \ldots, i_{\beta_n \leq \gamma_n}(x_n))||$$.

Another property: consider $$x \in V_\beta$$ and $$y \in V_{\gamma + 1}$$. Then there exists a unique $$t \in V_{\min(\beta, \gamma)}(||x \in y||)$$ such that (1) $$||x \in y|| \vdash t \in_{V_\beta} y$$, and (2) $$i_{\min(\beta, \gamma)}(t) = x|_{||x \in y||}$$.

One can verify that all the laws of intuitionist logic hold for this interpretation, and that all axioms of IZF hold. If $$T$$ is Boolean, one can verify that moreover, all of ZF holds; if choice applies in $$T$$, choice will hold in its model of ZF, thus giving us a model of ZFC.

We now focus our attention again on the case $$T = Sh(B)$$, identifying $$Sub_T(1)$$ with $$B$$. We are now ready to define a family of maps $$f_\beta : V^{(B)}_\beta \to V_\beta(1)$$.

• $$V^{(B)}_0 = \emptyset$$, so $$f_0$$ is trivial.
• $$f_{\beta + 1}(x)$$ should give us a subsheaf of $$V_\beta$$. This is the subsheaf such that $$f_{\beta + 1}(x)(U) = \{y \in V_\beta(U) \mid U = \bigvee \{V \leq U \mid \exists z \in V^{(B)}_\beta (f_\beta(z)|_V = y|_V \land V \leq x(z)\}\}$$. This can also be described as the subsheaf generated by $$\{f_\beta(z)|_{x(z)}\}$$.
• For $$\beta$$ a limit ordinal, $$\alpha < \beta$$, and $$x \in V^{(B)}_\alpha$$, $$f_\beta(x) = i_{\alpha \leq \beta}(1)(f_\alpha(x))$$

It is clear from the definition that for $$y \in V^{(B)}_{\beta + 1}$$ and $$t \in V^{(B)}_\beta$$, we have $$f_\beta(t)|_{y(t)} \in f_{\beta + 1}(y)(y(t))$$. So we have $$y(t) \leq ||f_\beta(t) \in f_{\beta + 1}(y)||$$.

It also follows from the definition that each $$f_{\beta + 1}$$ is surjective. In fact, we can define a one-sided inverse to $$f_{\beta + 1}$$ by sending each $$x \in V_{\beta + 1}(1)$$ to $$u \mapsto \bigvee \{U \in B \mid f_\beta(u)|_U \in x(U)\}$$.

Theorem. For all $$\phi(x_1, \ldots, x_n)$$, for all ordinals $$\beta_1, \ldots, \beta_n$$, for all $$x_1 \in V^{(B)}_{\beta_1}, \ldots, x_n \in V^{(B)}_{\beta_n}$$, $$||\phi(x_1, \ldots, x_n)|| = ||\phi(f_{\beta_1}(x_1), \ldots, f_{\beta_n}(x_n))||$$.

The proof is by induction, first on $$\phi$$, then on the ordinals. The cases $$\phi = \bot, \top$$ are trivial. Even more trivial is the case where some $$\beta_i = 0$$; then, there is no choice $$x_i \in V^{(B)}_{\beta_i}$$ to speak of. Also trivial are the cases where any $$\beta_i$$ is a limit ordinal, since we would take some $$\alpha < \beta_i$$ such that $$x_i \in V^{(B)}_\alpha$$ and note that $$||\phi(x_1, \ldots, x_i, \ldots, x_n)|| = ||\phi(f_{\beta_1}(x_1), \ldots, f_{\alpha}(x_i), \ldots, f_{\beta_n}(x_n))|| = ||\phi(f_{\beta_1}(x_1), \ldots, i_{\alpha \leq \beta_i}(f_{\alpha}(x_i)), \ldots, f_{\beta_n}(x_n))|| = ||\phi(f_{\beta_1}(x_1), \ldots, f_{\beta_i}(x_i), \ldots, f_{\beta_n}(x_n))||$$.

It is fairly straightforward to use the inductive hypothesis appropriately for when $$\phi(x_1, \ldots, x_n) = \psi(x_1, \ldots, x_n) \square \theta(x_1, \ldots, x_n)$$ for $$\square \in \{\land, \lor, \implies\}$$.

The existential quantification is rather intriguing. One direction of the proof is trivial. We clearly have $$||\exists y (\phi(x_1, \ldots, x_n, y))|| = \bigvee\limits_{\gamma, y \in V^{(B)}_\gamma} ||\phi(x_1, \ldots, x_n, y)|| = \bigvee\limits_{\gamma, y \in V^{(B)}_\gamma} ||\phi(f_{\beta_1}(x_1), \ldots, f_{\beta_n}(x_n), f_\gamma(y))|| \leq \bigvee\limits_{\gamma, z \in V_\gamma} ||\phi(f_{\beta_1}(x_1), \ldots, f_{\beta_n}(x_n), z|| = ||\exists y(\phi(f_{\beta_1}(x_1), \ldots, f_{\beta_n}(x_n), y))||$$.

Conversely, the map $$\gamma \mapsto \exists_y \{(x_1, \ldots, x_n, y) \in V_{\beta_1} \times \cdots \times V_{\beta_n} \times V_\gamma \mid \phi(x_1, \ldots, x_n, y)\}$$ is monotonically increasing. Therefore, by a size argument, there exists some $$\gamma$$ such that $$\exists_y \{(x_1, \ldots, x_n, y) \in V_{\beta_1} \times \cdots \times V_{\beta_n} \times V_\gamma \mid \phi(x_1, \ldots, x_n, y)\} = \{(x_1, \ldots, x_n) \in V_{\beta_1} \times \cdots \times V_{\beta_n} \mid \exists y \phi(x_1, \ldots, x_n, y)\}$$. It follows that the projection map $$\{(x_1, \ldots, x_n, y) \in V_{\beta_1} \times \cdots \times V_{\beta_n} \times V_\gamma \mid \phi(x_1, \ldots, x_n, y)\} \to \{(x_1, \ldots, x_n) \in V_{\beta_1} \times \cdots \times V_{\beta_n} \mid \exists y \phi(x_1, \ldots, x_n, y)\}$$ is an epimorphism. Let $$U = ||\exists y (\phi(x_1, \ldots, x_n))||$$. By the external axiom of choice, it is possible to choose some $$y \in V_\gamma(U)$$ such that $$(x_1|_U, \ldots, x_n|_U, y) \in \{(x_1, \ldots, x_n, y) \in V_{\beta_1} \times \cdots \times V_{\beta_n} \times V_\gamma \mid \phi(x_1, \ldots, x_n, y)\}(U)$$. Pick some $$z \in V_{\gamma + 1}(1)$$ such that $$z|_U = i_{\gamma \leq \gamma + 1}(y)$$; write $$z = f_{\gamma + 1}(w)$$ for some $$w \in V^{(B)}_{\gamma + 1}$$. Then $$U \leq ||\phi(f_{\beta_1}(x_1), \ldots, f_{\beta_n}(x_n), f_{\gamma + 1}(w))|| = ||\phi(x_1, \ldots, x_n, w)|| \leq ||\exists y (\phi(x_1, \ldots, x_n, y))||$$.

We skip the universal quantifier entirely, since in classical logic, it is redundant (and both the sheaf model and the Boolean-valued model are classical).

We are left with the simplest base case; the propositions $$x \in y$$ and $$x = y$$, where $$x \in V^{(B)}_{\delta + 1}$$ and $$y \in V^{(B)}_{\epsilon + 1}$$. It turns out we have to do these inductions together, since each proposition depends on the other. Note that $$||x \in y|| = \bigvee_{t \in V^{(B)}_\epsilon} y(t) \land ||x = t||$$. Now for each $$t \in V^{(B)}_\epsilon$$, we see that $$y(t) \land ||x = t|| = y(t) \land ||f_{\delta + 1}(x) = f_\epsilon(t)|| \leq ||f_\epsilon(t) \in f_{\epsilon + 1}(y)|| \land ||f_{\delta + 1}(x) = f_\epsilon(t)|| = ||f_\epsilon(T) \in f_{\epsilon + 1}(y) \land f_{\delta + 1}(x) = f_\epsilon(t)|| \leq ||f_{\delta + 1}(x) \in f_{\epsilon + 1}(y)||$$, using the fact that the Fourman semanics are complete under deduction.

In the other direction, let $$u = ||f_{\delta + 1}(x) \in f_{\epsilon + 1}(y)||$$. We take some $$t \in V_{\min(\delta + 1, \epsilon)}$$ such that $$t \in y(U)$$ and $$i_{\min(\delta + 1, \epsilon) \leq \delta + 1)}(t) = f_{\delta + 1}(x)|_U$$. Then by the definition of $$f_{\epsilon + 1}$$, we have $$U = \bigvee \{V \leq U \mid \exists z \in V^{(B)}_\epsilon (f_\epsilon(z)|_V = t|_V \land V \leq y(z))\}$$. This is enough to conclude that $$U \leq ||x \in y||$$, which completes the inductive step for $$\in$$. A similar inductive step proof exists for $$=$$; I may come back and add it in later, but I've already been working on this for a few hours and I'm getting a bit tired.

So Boolean-valued model semantics is just the semantics of the Fourman model derived from $$Sh(B)$$.

One final note here. We generally work with the internal logic of $$Sh(B)$$ without trying to leverage this into any sort of theorem about ZFC directly. Sheaves in Geometry and Logic presents the internal logic of a topos as higher-order typed logic where all quantifiers are bounded. Shulman extends this notion to allow for unbounded quantifiers. This extension of the rules of forcing allows one to describe the semantics of $$X \Vdash \phi$$, where $$X$$ is an object in the topos and $$\phi$$ is some statement in the language of category theory which does not discuss equality of objects. A statement $$\phi$$ is globally true if $$1 \Vdash \phi$$. See "Stack semantics and the comparison of material and structural set theories".

In that paper, Shulman demonstrates that for any sentence $$\phi$$ in the category of sets and any Grothendieck topos which satisfies the internal axiom of choice, $$||\phi'|| = 1$$ if and only if $$\Vdash \phi$$. Here, $$\phi'$$ is the canonical statement in the language of set theory which says "$$\phi$$ holds in the category of sets", and $$||\phi'||$$ is the Fourman semantics described above.

Combining all these things, we can observe that Mac Lane and Moerdijk came up with a Grothendieck topos which satisfies choice but also satisfies the rejection of the continuum hypothesis, as expressed in higher-order logic and interpreted through the internal logic. This topos is equivalent to $$Sh(B)$$ for a specific complete Boolean algebra $$B$$, so in this topos, choice holds but not the continuum hypothesis in the internal logic. Shulman's result then proves that in the Fourman semantics, we must also have choice holding and the continuum hypothesis failing. Finally, the above result means that the Fourman semantics of $$Sh(B)$$ are equivalent to the classic semantics of the Boolean-valued model on $$B$$.

I would personally like to add that I generally consider Shulman's stack semantics to be more elegant and easier to work with than the Fourman semantics. Shulman's stack semantics are also far more general - they apply not only to any elementary topos but also to weaker kinds of categories which have some features of a topos but not others, and they are totally constructive. However, in this instance, the less elegant Fourman semantics are needed since they are closer to the even less elegant Boolean-valued model semantics.

• I came back to check some details, and just to be sure, since I'm not too familiar with internal logic notation: when defining $\in_{\alpha + 1}$, is $\{ (i(x), y) \mid x \in_{V_\alpha} y\}$ basically $\{ (x, y) \mid \exists z \in V_\alpha (i \circ z = x \wedge z \in_{V_\alpha} y) \}$? I have only seen "sets" of the form $\{ (x, y) \mid \phi(x, y) \}$ so far. Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 22:26
• @whatsappcar That is correct. In this special case, because $i$ is a monic, the subobject is just the composite $\in_{V_\alpha} \hookrightarrow V_\alpha \times P(V_\alpha) \hookrightarrow P(V_\alpha) \times P(V_\alpha)$, where the second map is $(i, 1)$. Commented Jul 27, 2022 at 1:24