For α less than ε0 let Nα be the number of occurrences of ω in the Cantor normal form of α. Further let ∣n∣ denote the binary length of a natural number n, let ∣n∣h denote the h-times iterated binary length of n and let inv(n) be the least h such that ∣n∣h ≤ 2. We show that for any natural number h first order Peano arithmetic, PA, does not prove the following sentence: For all K there exists an M which bounds the lengths n of all strictly descending sequences 〈α0, …, αn〉 of ordinals less than ε0 which satisfy the condition that the Norm Nαi of the i-th term αi is bounded by K + ∣i∣ · ∣i∣i.
As a supplement to this (refined Friedman style) independence result we further show that e.g., primitive recursive arithmetic, PRA, proves that for all K there is an M which bounds the length n of any strictly descending sequence 〈α0, …, αn〉 of ordinals less than ε0 which satisfies the condition that the Norm Nαi of the i-th term αi is bounded by K + ∣i∣ · inv(i). The proofs are based on results from proof theory and techniques from asymptotic analysis of Polya-style enumerations.
Using results from Otter and from Matoušek and Loebl we obtain similar characterizations for finite bad sequences of finite trees in terms of Otter's tree constant 2.9557652856.…