Filters and Ideals in Partial Orders
This chapter contains assorted results on filters and partial orders. The first section
is devoted to the general notion of a filter in a p.o. This material will be used in
several later chapters and probably should be read up front. Section 13.2 is devoted
to applications of ultrafilters to an important construction in model theory. This
material will not be needed until Chapter 24. In Section 13.3 we develop the theory
of Boolean algebras (which can be looked at as the theory of a very special kind of
partial order) to the extent required for the proofs of Lemmas 19.7 and 19.8.
13.1. The general concept of a filter
Recall that if X is a nonempty set, then a filter on X is a subfamily J7 of V(X)
such that
is closed under supersets, i.e., VY e FVZ C X (Y C Z -* Z e
is closed under finite intersections, i.e., f\ H e T for all H G
Recall also that a filter T is proper if 0 £ T. A maximal proper filter on X is called
an ultrafilter on X.
13.1. If a e X then Ta = {Y C X : a e Y} is a proper filter on X.
It is called the principal ultrafilter determined by a.
13.2. The subsets of the unit interval [0,1] of Lebesgue measure one
form a proper filter T\ on [0,1].
13.3. If (X, r) is a topological space and x G l , then the family
Afx = {Y C X : 3U e r (x e U CY)}
forms a proper filter on X, called the neighborhood filter of x or neighborhood system
at x.
A filter T on X is uniform if \Y\ = \X\ for all Y e
The filter in Example 13.1
is uniform only if \X\ = 1. Thus, every uniform ultrafilter on an infinite set X is
nonprincipal. Moreover, if X is denumerable, then the notions of a nonprincipal
and a uniform ultrafilter on X coincide. An ultrafilter on a set X of cardinality Ki
is uniform if and only if it contains all cocountable subsets of Xy i.e., all subsets of X
with countable complement. The filter of Example 13.2 is uniform. Neighborhood
filters as in Example 13.3 are uniform in some but not all topological spaces.
Given a proper filter T on a set X, the dual ideal to T is the family
r =
{ r c i :
The sets in
are called the stationary sets with respect to
or simply the
J7-stationary sets.
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