Logic Colloquium 2024


Kerkko Luosto

Tampere University

Talks at this conference:

  Friday, 16:30, J222

On the hierarchy of vectorizations of the Härtig quantifier

A commonly used slogan in finite model theory is that the first order logic cannot count. A simple manifestation of this is that equicardinality, i.e., that two definable sets have the same power, is not definable in first order logic. A minimal way to overcome this shortcoming (simultaneously preserving the regularity of the logic) is to enhance first order logic by the equicardinality, or Härtig, quantifier \(\mathsf{I}\), with the assiocated semantic rule \(\mathfrak{M}\models \mathsf{I}xy\;(U(x),V(y)) \text{ if and only if } |U^{\mathfrak{M}}|=|V^{\mathfrak{M}}|,\) introduced by Klaus Härtig in 1965 [1], leading to the logic \(\mathsf{FO(I)}\). However, being able to express equicardinality of sets does not result in being able to express equicardinality of \(n\)-ary relations. Indeed, Risto Kaila showed in [2] that the \((n+1)^\mathrm{th}\) vectorization \(\mathsf{I}^{(n+1)}\) of the Härtig quantifier is not expressible in the logic \(\mathsf{FO}(\mathsf{I}^{(n)})\). Unfortunately, Kaila presented only the construction of the needed structures and left the tedious calculations for the reader.

I shall revisit Kaila’s hierarchy result, presenting a novel proof. The construction is simplified, so that the cardinalities of definable relations will be polynomials of two integer parametres. Working in the polynomial ring \(\mathbb{Z}[x,y]\), I shall find values for the parametres that give the desired undefinability result. I expect that this kind of algebraic techniques can be applied in similar situations in quantifier definability theory in the future.


  1. Klaus H{ä}rtig,{"U}ber eine Quantifikator mit zwei Wirkungsbereiche, Colloquiumon the foundations of Mathematics, Mathematical Machinesand their Applications (1965), 31–36, Akad. Kiad'{o}, Budapest.
  2. Risto Kaila,On probabilistic elimination of generalized quantifiers,Random Structures Algorithms 19 (2001), no. 1,pp. 1–36.