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A statement about a formal axiomatic theory, obtained within a definite meta-theory.


In category theory (cf. Category), the term "meta-theorem" has acquired a more specific meaning: it refers to an assertion of the form "if P is any statement (expressed in an appropriate formal language) about categories of a given type (e.g. Abelian categories or regular categories), then the validity of P in some particular category (e.g. the category of Abelian groups or the category of sets) implies its validity in all categories of the given type" . Results of this kind are generally deduced from imbedding theorems which assert that any category of the given type can be imbedded (in a structure-preserving way) into (a power of) the particular category under consideration.


[a1] P. Freyd, "Abelian categories: An introduction to the theory of functors" , Harper & Row (1964)
[a2] P. Freyd, A. Scedrov, "Geometric logic" , North-Holland (1989)
How to Cite This Entry:
Meta-theorem. A.G. Dragalin (originator), Encyclopedia of Mathematics. URL:
This text originally appeared in Encyclopedia of Mathematics - ISBN 1402006098