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Uniqueness and characterization of prime models over sets for totally transcendental first-order theories

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 March 2014

Saharon Shelah*
University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90024


If T is a complete first-order totally transcendental theory then over every T-structure A there is a prime model unique up to isomorphism over A. Moreover M is a prime model over A iff: (1) every finite sequence from M realizes an isolated type over A, and (2) there is no uncountable indiscernible set over A in M.

The existence of prime models was proved by Morley [3] and their uniqueness for countable A by Vaught [9]. Sacks asked (see Chang and Keisler [1, question 25]) whether the prime model is unique. After proving this I heard Ressayre had proved that every two strictly prime models over any T-structure A are isomorphic, by a strikingly simple proof. From this follows

If T is totally transcendental, M a strictly prime model over A then every elementary permutation of A can be extended to an automorphism of M. (The existence of M follows by [3].)

By our results this holds for any prime model. On the other hand Ressayre's result applies to more theories. For more information see [6, §0A]. A conclusion of our theorem is the uniqueness of the prime differentially closed field over a differential field. See Blum [8] for the total transcendency of the theory of differentially closed fields.

We can note that the prime model M over A is minimal over A iff in M there is no indiscernible set over A (which is infinite).

Research Article
Copyright © Association for Symbolic Logic 1972

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