Ramsey cardinal

In mathematics, a Ramsey cardinal is a certain kind of large cardinal number introduced by Erdős & Hajnal (1962) and named after Frank P. Ramsey, whose theorem establishes that ω enjoys a certain property which Ramsey cardinals generalize to the uncountable case.

Let [κ] denote the set of all finite subsets of κ. An uncountable cardinal number κ is called Ramsey if, for every function

f: [κ] → {0, 1}

there is a set A of cardinality κ that is homogeneous for f. That is, for every n, f is constant on the subsets of cardinality n from A. A cardinal κ is called ineffably Ramsey if A can be chosen to be stationary subset of κ. A cardinal κ is called virtually Ramsey if for every function

f: [κ] → {0, 1}

there is C, a closed and unbounded subset of κ, so that for every λ in C of uncountable cofinality, there is an unbounded subset of λ which is homogenous for f; slightly weaker is the notion of almost Ramsey where homogenous sets for f are required of order type λ, for every λ < κ.

The existence of any of these kinds of Ramsey cardinal is sufficient to prove the existence of 0#, or indeed that every set with rank less than κ has a sharp.

Every measurable cardinal is a Ramsey cardinal, and every Ramsey cardinal is a Rowbottom cardinal.

A property intermediate in strength between Ramseyness and measurability is existence of a κ-complete normal non-principal ideal I on κ such that for every AI and for every function

f: [κ] → {0, 1}

there is a set BA not in I that is homogeneous for f. This is strictly stronger than κ being ineffably Ramsey.

The existence of a Ramsey cardinal implies the existence of 0# and this in turn implies the falsity of the Axiom of Constructibility of Kurt Gödel.


  • Drake, F. R. (1974). Set Theory: An Introduction to Large Cardinals (Studies in Logic and the Foundations of Mathematics; V. 76). Elsevier Science Ltd. ISBN 0-444-10535-2.
  • Erdős, Paul; Hajnal, András (1962), "Some remarks concerning our paper "On the structure of set-mappings. Non-existence of a two-valued σ-measure for the first uncountable inaccessible cardinal", Acta Mathematica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, 13: 223–226, doi:10.1007/BF02033641, ISSN 0001-5954, MR 0141603
  • Kanamori, Akihiro (2003). The Higher Infinite : Large Cardinals in Set Theory from Their Beginnings (2nd ed.). Springer. ISBN 3-540-00384-3.