Annals of Pure and Applied Logic 54 (3):229-253 (1991)

Extrapolating from the work of Mahlo , one can prove that given any pair of countable closed totally bounded subsets of complete separable metric spaces, one subset can be homeomorphically embedded in the other. This sort of topological comparability is reminiscent of the statements concerning comparability of well orderings which Friedman has shown to be equivalent to ATR0 over the weak base system RCA0. The main result of this paper states that topological comparability is also equivalent to ATR0. In Section 1, the pertinent subsystems of second-order arithmetic and results on well orderings are reviewed. Sections 2 and 3 overview the encoding of metric spaces and homeomorphisms in second-order arithmetic. Section 4 contains a proof of the topological comparability result in ATR0. Section 5 contains the reversal, a derivation of ATR0 from the topological comparability result. In Section 6, additional information about the structure of the embeddings is obtained, culminating in an application to closed subsets of the real numbers
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DOI 10.1016/0168-0072(91)90048-q
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