============================== CFJ 3339 ==============================
If the rules contained the statement "It is LEGAL to shout
'CREAMPUFF' if and only if it is ILLEGAL to shout 'CREAMPUFF'", and
this contradiction were not resolved, overridden, or otherwise
mitigated by another rule, and a CFJ were called on the statement
"It is LEGAL to shout 'CREAMPUFF' if and only if it is ILLEGAL to
shout 'CREAMPUFF'", then TRUE would be an appropriate judgement for
that CFJ, and FALSE would be an inappropriate judgement for that
Called by Machiavelli: 11 Jun 2013 19:13:45 GMT
Assigned to woggle: 18 Jun 2013 22:59:02 GMT
Judged FALSE by woggle: 23 Jun 2013 18:29:13 GMT
Gratuitous Arguments by Machiavelli:
In my mind, the straightforward answer is FALSE, because the statement
"It is LEGAL to shout 'CREAMPUFF' if and only if it is ILLEGAL to
shout 'CREAMPUFF'" is a logical contradiction, and so it is false
under all circumstances, and not true under any circumstances.
It could be argued that if the rules contained a self-contradictory
statement of this nature, then the entire ruleset would be effectively
meaningless and unusable, because, by the principle of explosion, all
statements would be both true and false. This view doesn't seem to be
actually held by anyone in Agora, but if it were Agora's preferred
interpretation, then the statement "It is LEGAL to shout 'CREAMPUFF'
if and only if it is ILLEGAL to shout 'CREAMPUFF'" would be both true
and false, and so under this view, the answer to the CFJ is FALSE.
Nevertheless, it seems like the popular view in Agora is that the
answer to my CFJ would be TRUE. The argument in favor of this view
seems to go something like this:
Agora is a game that is governed by its rules, and so, if one is to
play Agora, one must generally interpret all statements in the rules
as being true. Although it is sometimes permissible to interpret a
statement in the rules as being false (in particular, if the rules
also contain a contradictory statement that takes precedence over it),
logical impossibility of a statement does not make it permissible to
interpret the statement as being false. Instead, we must adopt a legal
fiction that the statement is true without causing an "explosion";
thus, some statements related to the logically contradictory statement
may be (fictionally) both true and false, but this status would not
extend to statements not related to the logically contradictory
Or, in short: if the rules contain a false statement, then the
statement is equivalent to an instruction to behave as if the
statement were true.
I think this interpretation is undesirable, since it entails that
classical logic cannot be used to reason about some parts of Agora; we
must instead use some paraconsistent logic in at least some cases, or
else just wing it.
Furthermore, I think that if a statement in the rules is logically
contradictory, we should indeed consider it permissible to interpret
the statement as being false. This agrees with my intuition, but I
have what seems to me like a good argument for this idea as well.
The function of the rules is to regulate, or govern, the state of the
game. Thus, the effect of a rule is generally determined by how it
purports to regulate the state of the game. If a rule states that "a
person CAN submit a CFJ by announcement", then that rule purports to
cause a CFJ to be created whenever a person announces that e submits
one. If a rule states that "this rule was placed to honor the spirit
of the game", then that rule does not purport to do anything, and thus
it contains no regulatory content, and so it is ineffective.
What if a rule states that "it is LEGAL to shout 'CREAMPUFF' if and
only if it is ILLEGAL to shout 'CREAMPUFF'"? That rule is
*semantically* meaningful, because it has a truth value. But the rule
is *regulatorily* meaningless, because there is no state of the game
that satisfies it any better than any other state of the game. (It
would be incorrect to say that the rule regulates the state of the
game by making the action both legal and illegal, because that is
simply impossible.) The rule does not specify an aspect of the game
(although it attempts to), and thus it contains no meaningful
regulatory content, and so it is ineffective.
Now, I suppose you could argue that the statement "it is LEGAL to
shout 'CREAMPUFF' if and only if it is ILLEGAL to shout 'CREAMPUFF'"
regulates the game by simply deleting the concept of the legality of
shouting "CREAMPUFF", making the statement "it is LEGAL to shout
'CREAMPUFF'" meaningless. I don't think this argument holds water,
since if the statement "it is LEGAL to shout 'CREAMPUFF'" were
meaningless, then the statement "it is LEGAL to shout 'CREAMPUFF' if
and only if it is ILLEGAL to shout 'CREAMPUFF'" would be meaningless,
not true. Rules regulate the game by trying to make themselves true,
Finally, there's one more way I can think of by which the answer to my
CFJ could be true, which is the legal fiction argument. According to
this argument, the statement "it is LEGAL to shout 'CREAMPUFF' if and
only if it is ILLEGAL to shout 'CREAMPUFF'" actually does have
meaningful regulatory content: rather than regulating the game by
affecting the legality of shouting "CREAMPUFF", it regulates the game
by instructing the players to interpret the rules as if the statement
"it is LEGAL to shout 'CREAMPUFF' if and only if it is ILLEGAL to
shout 'CREAMPUFF'" were true. If the statement were true, then TRUE
would be an appropriate judgement for a CFJ about it, and FALSE would
be an inappropriate judgement for a CFJ about it. Thus, because we're
instructed to act as if the statement as true, this means that TRUE
*is* an appropriate judgement for any CFJ about it, and FALSE *is* an
I don't have a counterargument to the legal fiction argument, other
than to say that it seems kind of silly to instruct players to pretend
that a logical contradiction is true.
TL;DR: a self-contradictory statement in the rules, because it does
not specify an aspect of the game, has no meaningful regulatory
content, and thus is ineffective, unless you interpret the statement
as an instruction to act as if the statement were true.
Gratuitous Arguments by Bucky:
As far as I can tell, it would be de facto legal to shout 'CREAMPUFF'. That
rule is sufficiently confusing that a player might reasonably believe they can
shout 'CREAMPUFF' without violating it.
That would leave the hypothetical CfJ in a situation where the statement is
factually true (so FALSE is an inappropriate judgment) and logically both true
and false (by explosion). Therefore, since the statement would be logically
and factually true, a judgment of TRUE is appropriate.
Gratuitous Arguments by G.:
Anyone wanting to do this subject justice should consider the body of
legal writings on the subject, without trying to re-derive it from first
principles from logical traditions. While we suffer a dearth of legal
training (over algorithmic training) among current members, it keeps in
the spirit of nomic. A starting point is here:
from which the following quote is taken:
"If laws were simply rules, like software rules, then these situations
would precipitate the legal equivalent of infinite loops. But because
renvoi and circular lien problems are solved in finite time, in principled
ways, lawfully, by human decisions which face the need to escape absurd
literalism, they provide important clues to the sense in which laws are
not simply rules, and law itself more a human enterprise than a formal
Judge woggle's Arguments:
I judge CFJ 3339 FALSE.
Game custom generally considers statements that are not clearly true and not
clearly false as a separate category, both when the rules provide
contradictory information or and when they provide insufficient information.
This is most clearly embodied by our long tradition of calling something a Win
By Paradox instead of a Win By Incompleteness. It can also been seen our
provision of a judgment of UNDECIDABLE that is separate from a judgment of
TRUE or FALSE.
It has been generally uncontroverisal to resolve conflicts in rules and
similar documents not handled using the usual precedences as UNDECIDABLE, even
though the judgment of UNDECIDABLE is not appropriate when true or false is.
(e.g. direct conflict within a rule before R2240 existed in its present form
was resolved as UNDECIDABLE in CFJ 2650; numerous cases involving
self-referential statements concluded the self-contradictory statement was
neither true nor false, even when it was part of a contract or foreign nomic
ruleset being interpreted.)