ORD is Mahlo

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The assertion Ord is Mahlo is the scheme expressing that the proper class REG consisting of all regular cardinals is a stationary proper class, meaning that it has elements from every definable (with parameters) closed unbounded proper class of ordinals. In other words, the scheme asserts for every formula $\varphi$, that if for some parameter $z$ the class $\{\alpha\mid \varphi(\alpha,z)\}$ is a closed unbounded class of ordinals, then it contains a regular cardinal.

  • If $\kappa$ is Mahlo, then $V_\kappa\models\text{ORD is Mahlo}$.
  • Consequently, the existence of a Mahlo cardinal implies the consistency of Ord is Mahlo, and the two notions are not equivalent.
  • Moreoever, since the ORD is Mahlo scheme is expressible as a first-order theory, it follows that whenever $V_\gamma\prec V_\kappa$, then also $V_\gamma$ satisfies the Levy scheme.
  • Consequently, if there is a Mahlo cardinal, then there is a club of cardinals $\gamma\lt\kappa$ for which $V_\gamma\models\text{Ord is Mahlo}$.

A simple compactness argument establishes that Ord is Mahlo is equiconsistent over ZFC with the existence of an inaccessible reflecting cardinal. On the one hand, if $\kappa$ is an inaccessible reflecting cardinal, then since $V_\kappa\prec V$ it follows that any class club definable in $V$ with parameters below $\kappa$ will be unbounded in $\kappa$ and hence contain $\kappa$ as an element and consequently contain an inaccessible cardinal. On the other hand, if Ord is Mahlo is consistent, then every finite fragment of the theory asserting that $\kappa$ is an inaccessible reflecting cardinal (which is after all asserted as a scheme) is consistent, and hence by compactness the whole theory is consistent.

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