We give here an elementary proof of a recent result of Girard  comparing the rates of growth of the two principal (and extreme) examples of a spectrum of “majorization hierarchies”—i.e. hierarchies of increasing number-theoretic functions, indexed by (systems of notations for) initial segments I of the countable ordinals so that if α < β ∈ I then the βth function dominates the αth one at all but finitely-many positive integers x.
Hardy  was perhaps the first to make use of a majorization hierarchy—the Hα's below—in “exhibiting” a set of reals with cardinality ℵ1. More recently such hierarchies have played important roles in mathematical logic because they provide natural classifications of recursive functions according to their computational complexity. (All the functions considered here are “honest” in the sense that the size of their values gives a measure of the number of steps needed to compute them.)
The hierarchies we are concerned with fall into three main classes depending on their mode of generation at successor stages, the other crucial parameter being the initial choice of a particular (standard) fundamental sequence λ0 < λ1 < λ2 < … to each limit ordinal λ under consideration which, by a suitable diagonalization, will then determine the generation at stage λ.
Our later comparisons will require the use of a “large” initial segment I of proof-theoretic ordinals, extending as far as the “Howard ordinal”. However we will postpone a precise description of these ordinals and their associated fundamental sequences until later.
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