In mathematics, **model theory** is the study of (classes of) mathematical structures (e.g. groups, fields, graphs, universes of set theory) using tools from mathematical logic. It has close ties to abstract algebra, particularly universal algebra.

Objects of study in model theory are models for formal languages which are structures that give meaning to the sentences of these formal languages. If a model for a language moreover satisfies a particular sentence or theory (set of sentences satisfying special conditions), it is called a model *of* the sentence or theory.

This article focuses on finitary first order model theory of infinite structures. Finite model theory, which concentrates on finite structures, diverges significantly from the study of infinite structures in both the problems studied and the techniques used. Model theory in higher-order logics or infinitary logics is hampered by the fact that completeness does not in general hold for these logics. However, a great deal of study has also been done in such languages.

Model theory recognises and is intimately concerned with a duality: It examines semantical elements by means of syntactical elements of a corresponding language. To quote the first page of Chang and Keisler (1990):

- universal algebra + logic =
**model theory**.

Model theory developed rapidly during the 1990s, and a more modern definition is provided by Wilfrid Hodges (1997):

**model theory**= algebraic geometry − fields.

In a similar way to proof theory, model theory is situated in an area of interdisciplinarity between mathematics, philosophy, and computer science. The most important professional organization in the field of model theory is the Association for Symbolic Logic.

An incomplete and somewhat arbitrary subdivision of model theory is into classical model theory, model theory applied to groups and fields, and geometric model theory. A missing subdivision is computable model theory, but this can arguably be viewed as an independent subfield of logic. Examples of early theorems from classical model theory include Gödel's completeness theorem, the upward and downward Löwenheim–Skolem theorems, Vaught's two-cardinal theorem, Scott's isomorphism theorem, the omitting types theorem, and the Ryll-Nardzewski theorem. Examples of early results from model theory applied to fields are Tarski's elimination of quantifiers for real closed fields, Ax's theorem on pseudo-finite fields, and Robinson's development of non-standard analysis. An important step in the evolution of classical model theory occurred with the birth of stability theory (through Morley's theorem on uncountably categorical theories and Shelah's classification program), which developed a calculus of independence and rank based on syntactical conditions satisfied by theories. During the last several decades applied model theory has repeatedly merged with the more pure stability theory. The result of this synthesis is called geometric model theory in this article (which is taken to include o-minimality, for example, as well as classical geometric stability theory). An example of a theorem from geometric model theory is Hrushovski's proof of the Mordell–Lang conjecture for function fields. The ambition of geometric model theory is to provide a *geography of mathematics* by embarking on a detailed study of definable sets in various mathematical structures, aided by the substantial tools developed in the study of pure model theory.

Read more about Model Theory: Example, Universal Algebra, Finite Model Theory, First-order Logic, Axiomatizability, Elimination of Quantifiers, and Model-completeness, Categoricity, Model Theory and Set Theory, History

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