DEFINITION 3.2.1 Let (X, £ ) be a preorder and u Î X. Then u is
Likewise by reversing the order we say that u is
Bottom and top, if they exist, are written ^ and T respectively; if £ is antisymmetric then they are unique. (They are in any case unique up to ~ of Proposition 3.1.10.) The terms maximum and minimum (which are nouns) are also used to mean greatest and least elements, but should be avoided as a source of confusion. Local maxima and minima in the sense of elementary calculus are not formally related to any of these concepts.
NOTATION 3.2.3 By abuse of notation, for g,q Î X and Á Ì X,
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We do not extend the symbol £ to U £ V, but see Exercise 3.55 for three such orders on the set of subsets.
DEFINITION 3.2.4 Let (X, £ ) be a preorder and Á Ì X.
If £ is antisymmetric then meets and joins, where they exist, are unique. Otherwise they are unique up to ~ from Proposition 3.1.10. See Exercises 3.5, 3.21 and 3.33ff for minimal and locally least upper bounds.
ÚÆ = ^ = ÙX and
Ù Æ = T = ÚX, if these exist.

DEFINITION 3.2.6 Let f:X® Y be a monotone function between preorders. If u is a meet of Á Ì X then fu is a lower bound of \funf_{!}(Á) Ì Y by monotonicity of f. (Recall the notation \funf_{!} from Remark 2.2.7.) Then f preserves the meet if fu is a greatest lower bound.
(If X and Y are posets then of course these meets are unique; the point of stressing preorders and being a meet is that no choice of meet is needed to define preservation, by an argument similar to Lemma 1.2.11. This will be important for limits and colimits in categories, Definition 4.5.10.)
We also say that f creates the meet if (a) y = Ù\funf_{!}(Á) exists, (b) there is a unique x Î X (up to ~ ) such that y = f(x) and x £ Á, and, having fixed x, (c) in fact x = ÙÁ.
Meets and joins of lower sets The covariant regular representation (by lower sets, Definition 3.1.7) has both meets and joins, but it behaves quite differently with respect to them. Both cases are important.
PROPOSITION 3.2.7 The embedding X¯ ():X\hookrightarrow shv(X)

EXAMPLE 3.2.8 In the poset X on the left, u is the join of a and b.
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In shv(X), on the right, {a,b} is a new ``formal'' join of this pair. []
Theorem 3.9.7 shows how to add new joins, but keep specified old ones.
Diagrams It is often more convenient to define meets and joins with respect to arbitrary functions Á® X instead of just subsets Á Ì X.
DEFINITION 3.2.9 A diagram in a poset X is a function to X from a set Á, or a monotone function from a poset or preorder. We call Á the shape of the diagram, and write x_{i} for the value of the function at i Î Á and x_{()}:Á® X for the function as a whole.
Then q Î X is an upper bound for the diagram if "i.x_{i} £ q, ie q bounds the image, {x_{i}i:Á} Ì X. We write Ú_{i} x_{i} for the join (least upper bound) of the diagram, and similarly Ù_{i}x_{i} for the meet.
The notations xÚy and xÙy are, strictly speaking, examples of a join and a meet of a diagram of shape 2 = {· ·} rather than of a subset. We shall study certain nondiscrete diagrams in the next section.
Any diagram has the same meets and joins as its image. Indeed it has the same joins as the downclosure of its image, and more generally we can say exactly when a comparison between diagrams induces the same joins. This result will be used in Corollary 3.5.13.
PROPOSITION 3.2.10 Let U:J® Á be monotone. Then the following are equivalent:
PROOF: The proof is easy except for (e)Þ (a). For this case we use the representation by lower sets, so let X = shv(Á) and x_{i} = Á¯ i. Then q is an upper bound of {x_{i}i:Á} iff q = Á, and of the subset {x_{U(j)}j:J} iff \rightadj_{!}(J) Ì q, so Á must be the lower closure of \rightadj_{!}(I). []
Lattices Now we shall give an algebraic characterisation of finite meets and joins, motivated by the logical connectives Ù and Ú (Section 1.4). Gottfried Leibniz defined order in terms of joins, and Johann Lambert recognised the idempotent law. Ernst Schröder was the first to see that the distributive law was not automatic. These laws, plus associativity, commutativity and the units for lattices, express the structural rules of logic (Definition 1.4.8), as do the reflexivity and transitivity axioms for a preorder. Antisymmetry, on the other hand, is a sideeffect of the algebraic formulation of logic in terms of lattices.
PROPOSITION 3.2.11 Let (X, £ ) be a poset with a greatest element (T) and meets of pairs (xÙy). Then the operation Ù:Xx X® X is
associative: xÙ(yÙz) = (xÙy)Ùz, commutative: xÙy = yÙx, idempotent: xÙx = x, and T is a unit: TÙx = x = xÙT.
Moreover x £ y iff xÙy = x. Conversely if (X,T,Ù) satisfies these laws then this condition defines a partial order for which Ù is the binary meet and T the greatest element. []
DEFINITION 3.2.12 Such a structure is called a semilattice; a function which preserves Ù and T is called a semilattice homomorphism, and is therefore monotone. Notice that the algebraic laws do not force the direction of the order relation: Ú and ^ satisfy them as well. When we speak of an algebraic structure as a join or meetsemilattice we are therefore imposing the direction by convention.
Since finitary meets and joins are characterised by the same laws and each alone can uniquely determine the order, there must be an additional law forcing the two orders to coincide. It suffices to say that x,y £ xÚy, where £ is the relation defined by Ù, or vice versa . Eliminating the inequality, either of these conditions is known as the absorptive law:
xÙ(xÚy) = x and xÚ(xÙy) = x.
The nullary cases, yÙ^ = ^ and yÚT = T, follow from these (with x = ^,T) and the unit laws.
PROPOSITION 3.2.13 Let (X, £ ) be a poset with finite meets and joins. Then (X,^,Ú) and (X,T,Ù) are both semilattices, and the absorptive laws hold. Conversely, if (X,^,Ú,T,Ù) obeys both sets of semilattice laws and either of the absorptive laws then the orders agree and the meets and joins are as given. Then X is called a lattice; lattice homomorphisms by definition preserve ^, Ú, T, and Ù. []
The logical connectives obey another law:
DEFINITION 3.2.14 A lattice is distributive if
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where LHS £ RHS hold in an arbitrary lattice. In fact one can be derived from the other in the context of the lattice laws, and we have already stated the nullary versions ( xÙ^ = ^ and xÚT = T). Whereas expressions in the theory of lattices may need many nested brackets, the distributive laws give rise to the disjunctive normal form, eg


There are also major applications of lattices to the structure theory of algebra. The lattices of congruences of certain familiar theories, notably groups, rings and vector spaces, obey the modular law (Exercise 3.24), which is weaker than distributivity and was first identified by Richard Dedekind (1900). This gives a sense in which these algebras are made of ``building blocks,'' of which the dimension of a vector space and the JordanHölder theorem for groups are examples.
We shall return to lattices with arbitrary meets and joins in Section 3.6. Semilattices will be used in Theorem 3.9.1 to describe Horn theories (Remark 1.7.2ff). Now we shall turn from finitary meets and joins to those which are in a sense ``purely infinitary.''