Index ← 2791 CFJ 2792 2793 → text
==============================  CFJ 2792  ==============================

    Earlier today, comex withdrew a Proposal that would enact a power-4
    Rule. If that Rule were to actually get enacted, notwithstanding
    that it  is probably IMPOSSIBLE for that to happen, would it repeal
    itself  immediately?


Caller:                                 scshunt

Judge:                                  G.
Judgement:                              IRRELEVANT



Called by scshunt:                      26 Apr 2010 20:40:00 GMT
Assigned to G.:                         11 May 2010 05:25:28 GMT
Judged IRRELEVANT by G.:                11 May 2010 17:35:35 GMT


Caller's Arguments:

This is a classical case of the Paradox of Self-Amendment. The rule says
that "If any change to the gamestate would cause ... any change in the
effect or attributes of this rule ... including its repeal ... it is
cancelled and does not occur." but also that "If this rule already fails
to have its full effect due to a rule, that rule is repealed." Does this
mean that the rule would cause its own repeal because it prevents itself
from taking full effect? Since this clause comes later in the rule, it
should take precedence (by Rule 2240), which would cause its own repeal.


Caller's Evidence:

       comex is the Dictator.  comex CAN cause any modification to the
       gamestate by announcement, including a retroactive modification.
       comex CAN act on behalf of any entity by announcement.

       This rule takes precedence over all other rules.  If any change
       to the gamestate would cause any document to supersede this one,
       or cause any change in the effect or attributes of this rule,
       including its repeal or dissolution, or in any other way prevent
       this rule from having its full effect or comex from performing
       any action, it is cancelled and does not occur.  If this rule
       already fails to have its full effect due to a rule, that rule
       is repealed.

       Entities SHALL NOT attempt to prevent this rule from having its
       full effect.  If they do, comex CAN banish them by announcement.
       A banished entity CANNOT affect the gamestate by sending


Judge G.'s Arguments:

In the spirit of the CFJ, I'll ignore any/all conflicts with the rest
of the ruleset (e.g. R1030 which might block this in the first place,
and since this Rule claims precedence over all other rules, conflicting
modifications of its action, for example due to R2240, would have no
effect in general).  Instead, I'll treat this as a stand-alone Rule; for
example, if it were the top rule in a hypothetical Imperial Nomic.

In addition to classical self-amendment, this also is the classical
omnipotence paradox: can God make a rock so heavy that e can't lift it?
or: can a Rule be so all-powerful that it can't block its own operation?
For good measure, by involving an implementation process, it is a
bootstrapping omnipotence paradox; can a Rule be made so powerful that
it does not cancel its own operation in becoming so?

After some browsing various sources (usefully, for our purposes,
well-summarized here:
I realized that True, False, Undecidable or Undetermined might all
be appropriate, depending on the brand of omnipotence one subscribes
to (accidental or essential?), or on whether one is seeking proof of
the reality of omnipotence rather than treating it as a hypothetical.

However, I am most drawn by my first intuition that it is logical
nonsense; this is echoed in a diversity of opinions from the writings
of C.S. Lewis ("meaningless as a square circle") to Wittgenstein
("we must pass over [this] in silence").  Therefore, my judgement
is that this is gloriously, and in the best possible way, IRRELEVANT.