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I survey the syntactic technique of tiering which can be used to restrict the power of a recursion scheme. I show how various results can be obtained entirely proof theoretically without the use of a model of computation.
We define the notion of ordinal computability by generalizing standard Turing computability on tapes of length ω to computations on tapes of arbitrary ordinal length. We show that a set of ordinals is ordinal computable from a finite set of ordinal parameters if and only if it is an element of Gödel's constructible universe L. This characterization can be used to prove the generalized continuum hypothesis in L.
When attempting to generalize recursion theory to admissible ordinals, it may seem as if all classical priority constructions can be lifted to any admissible ordinal satisfying a sufficiently strong fragment of the replacement scheme. We show, however, that this is not always the case. In fact, there are some constructions which make an essential use of the notion of finiteness which cannot be replaced by the generalized notion of α-finiteness. As examples we discuss both codings of models of arithmetic into the recursively enumerable degrees, and non-distributive lattice embeddings into these degrees. We show that if an admissible ordinal α is effectively close to ω (where this closeness can be measured by size or by cofinality) then such constructions may be performed in the α-r.e. degrees, but otherwise they fail. The results of these constructions can be expressed in the first-order language of partially ordered sets, and so these results also show that there are natural elementary differences between the structures of α-r.e. degrees for various classes of admissible ordinals α. Together with coding work which shows that for some α, the theory of the α-r.e. degrees is complicated, we get that for every admissible ordinal α, the α-r.e. degrees and the classical r.e. degrees are not elementarily equivalent.
We prove that the two-variable fragment of first-order intuitionistic logic is undecidable, even without constants and equality. We also show that the two-variable fragment of a quantified modal logic L with expanding first-order domains is undecidable whenever there is a Kripke frame for L with a point having infinitely many successors (such are, in particular, the first-order extensions of practically all standard modal logics like K, K4, GL, S4, S5, K4.1, S4.2, GL.3, etc.). For many quantified modal logics, including those in the standard nomenclature above, even the monadic two-variable fragments turn out to be undecidable.