Against the countable transitive model approach to forcing

In Martin Blicha & Igor Sedlár (eds.), The Logica Yearbook 2020 (2021)
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In this paper, I argue that one of the arguments usually put forward in defence of universism is in tension with current set theoretic practice. According to universism, there is only one set theoretic universe, V, and when applying the method of forcing we are not producing new universes, but only simulating them inside V. Since the usual interpretation of set generic forcing is used to produce a “simulation” of an extension of V from a countable set inside V itself, the above argument is credited to be a strong defence of universism. However, I claim, such an argument does not take into account current mathematical practice. Indeed, it is possible to find theorems that are available to the multiversists but that the advocate of universism cannot prove. For example, it is possible to prove results on infinite games in non-well-founded set-theories plus the axiom of determinacy (such as ZF + AFA + PD) that are not available in ZFC + PD. These results, I contend, are philosophically problematic on a strict universist approach to forcing. I suggest that the best way to avoid the difficulty is to adopt a pluralist conception of set theory and embrace a set theoretic multiverse. Consequently, the current practice of set generic forcing better supports a multiverse conception of set theory.
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