Are Large Cardinal Axioms Restrictive?

Abstract

The independence phenomenon in set theory, while pervasive, can be partially addressed through the use of large cardinal axioms. A commonly assumed idea is that large cardinal axioms are species of maximality principles. In this paper, I argue that whether or not large cardinal axioms count as maximality principles depends on prior commitments concerning the richness of the subset forming operation. In particular I argue that there is a conception of maximality through absoluteness, on which large cardinal axioms are restrictive. I argue, however, that large cardinals are still important axioms of set theory and can play many of their usual foundational roles.

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