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The Thins Ordering on Relations

Ed VoermansJules DesharnaisRoland Backhouse
Jan 2024
Earlier papers \cite{VB2022,VB2023a} introduced the notions of a core and an index of a relation (an index being a special case of a core). A limited form of the axiom of choice was postulated -- specifically that all partial equivalence relations (pers) have an index -- and the consequences of adding the axiom to axiom systems for point-free reasoning were explored. In this paper, we define a partial ordering on relations, which we call the \textsf{thins} ordering. We show that our axiom of choice is equivalent to the property that core relations are the minimal elements of the \textsf{thins} ordering. We also postulate a novel axiom that guarantees that, when \textsf{thins} is restricted to non-empty pers, equivalence relations are maximal. This and other properties of \textsf{thins} provide further evidence that our axiom of choice is a desirable means of strengthening point-free reasoning on relations. Although our novel axiom is valid for concrete relations and is a sufficient condition for characterising maximality, we show that it is not a necessary condition in the abstract point-free algebra. This leaves open the problem of deriving a necessary and sufficient condition.
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