The extended predicative Mahlo universe in Martin-Lof type theory
Journal article, 2023

This paper addresses the long-standing question of the predicativity of the Mahlo universe. A solution, called the extended predicative Mahlo universe, has been proposed by Kahle and Setzer in the context of explicit mathematics. It makes use of the collection of untyped terms (denoting partial functions) which are directly available in explicit mathematics but not in Martin-Lof type theory. In this paper, we overcome the obstacle of not having direct access to untyped terms in Martin-Lof type theory by formalizing explicit mathematics with an extended predicative Mahlo universe in Martin-Lof type theory with certain indexed inductive-recursive definitions. In this way, we can relate the predicativity question to the fundamental semantics of Martin-Lof type theory in terms of computation to canonical form. As a result, we get the first extended predicative definition of a Mahlo universe in Martin-Lof type theory. To this end, we first define an external variant of Kahle and Setzer's internal extended predicative universe in explicit mathematics. This is then formalized in Martin-Lof type theory, where it becomes an internal extended predicative Mahlo universe. Although we make use of indexed inductive-recursive definitions that go beyond the type theory $\mathbf {IIRD}$ of indexed inductive-recursive definitions defined in previous work by the authors, we argue that they are constructive and predicative in Martin-Lof's sense. The model construction has been type-checked in the proof assistant Agda.


extended predicativity

partial functions


constructive mathematics

Martin-Lof type theory


inductive-recursive definitions

explicit mathematics

indexed induction-recursion


meaning explanations


Peter Dybjer

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Computing Science

Anton Setzer

Swansea University

Journal of Logic and Computation

0955-792X (ISSN) 1465-363X (eISSN)

Vol. In Press

Subject Categories

Language Technology (Computational Linguistics)

Other Mathematics

Computer Science



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6/2/2023 7