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Model Theory is the part of mathematics which shows how to apply logic to the study of structures in pure mathematics. On the one hand it is the ultimate abstraction; on the other, it has immediate applications to every-day mathematics. The fundamental tenet of Model Theory is that mathematical truth, like all truth, is relative. A statement may be true or false, depending on how and where it is interpreted. This isn't necessarily due to mathematics itself, but is a consequence of the language that we use to express mathematical ideas.
What at first seems like a deficiency in our language, can actually be shaped into a powerful tool for understanding mathematics. This book provides an introduction to Model Theory which can be used as a text for a reading course or a summer project at the senior undergraduate or graduate level. It is also a primer which will give someone a self contained overview of the subject, before diving into one of the more encyclopedic standard graduate texts.
Any reader who is familiar with the cardinality of a set and the algebraic closure of a field can proceed without worry. Many readers will have some acquaintance with elementary logic, but this is not absolutely required, since all necessary concepts from logic are reviewed in Chapter 0. Chapter 1 gives the motivating examples and we recommend that you read it first, before diving into the more technical aspects of Chapter 0. Chapters 2 and 3 are selections of some of the most important techniques in Model Theory. The remaining chapters investigate the relationship between Model Theory and the algebra of the real and complex numbers. Thirty exercises develop familiarity with the definitions and consolidate understanding of the main proof techniques.
Throughout the book we present applications which cannot easily be found elsewhere in such detail. Some are chosen for their value in other areas of mathematics: Ramsey's Theorem, the Tarski-Seidenberg Theorem. Some are chosen for their immediate appeal to every mathematician: existence of infinitesimals for calculus, graph colouring on the plane. And some, like Hilbert's Seventeenth Problem, are chosen because of how amazing it is that logic can play an important role in the solution of a problem from high school algebra. In each case, the derivation is shorter than any which tries to avoid logic. More importantly, the methods of Model Theory display clearly the structure of the main ideas of the proofs, showing how theorems of logic combine with theorems from other areas of mathematics to produce stunning results.
The theorems here are all are more than thirty years old and due in great part to the cofounders of the subject, Abraham Robinson and Alfred Tarski. However, we have not attempted to give a history. When we attach a name to a theorem, it is simply because that is what mathematical logicians popularly call it.
The bibliography contains a number of texts that were helpful in the preparation of this manuscript. They could serve as avenues of further study and in addition, they contain many other references and historical notes. The more recent titles were added to show the reader where the subject is moving today. All are worth a look.
Date Received: July 23, 2000.