Infinitesimal Comparisons: Homomorphisms between Giordano’s Ring and the Hyperreal Field

Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 58 (2):205-214 (2017)

Authors
Patrick Reeder
Ohio State University
Abstract
The primary purpose of this paper is to analyze the relationship between the familiar non-Archimedean field of hyperreals from Abraham Robinson’s nonstandard analysis and Paolo Giordano’s ring extension of the real numbers containing nilpotents. There is an interesting nontrivial homomorphism from the limited hyperreals into the Giordano ring, whereas the only nontrivial homomorphism from the Giordano ring to the hyperreals is the standard part function, namely, the function that maps a value to its real part. We interpret this asymmetry to mean that the nilpotent infinitesimal values of Giordano’s ring are “smaller” than the hyperreal infinitesimals. By viewing things from the “point of view” of the hyperreals, all nilpotents are zero, whereas by viewing things from the “point of view” of Giordano’s ring, nonnilpotent, nonzero infinitesimals register as nonzero infinitesimals. This suggests that Giordano’s infinitesimals are more fine-grained.
Keywords nonstandard analysis  nilpotent infinitesimals
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DOI 10.1215/00294527-3839208
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