Index ← 3386 CFJ 3387 3388 → text
==============================  CFJ 3387  ==============================

    Teucer CAN destroy the promise entitled "I've had the time of my
    life" by announcement.


Caller:                                 teucer

Judge:                                  ais523
Judgement:                              FALSE



Called by teucer:                       06 Aug 2013 14:24:19 GMT
Assigned to ais523:                     12 Aug 2013 18:52:55 GMT
Judged FALSE by ais523:                 17 Aug 2013


Caller's Arguments:

On Tue, Aug 6, 2013 at 1:30 AM, omd  wrote:
> On Tue, Aug 6, 2013 at 1:02 AM, Tanner Swett  wrote:
>> Arguments:
> I'm not sure whether I agree with you or not.  I agree that
> 00:53 < tswett> If a rule were to say "if it is POSSIBLE to do X, then
> it is POSSIBLE to do Y", I think we would treat
>                 this as meaning something very different from "if it
> is IMPOSSIBLE to do Y, then it is POSSIBLE to do
>                 X".
> and that therefore, we should not treat Agora's ruleset as a set of
> axioms.  However, I don't think this is actually divorced from logic
> somehow - e.g. I think that a CFJ on whether Fool CAN deregister
> everyone would have still been FALSE, and don't think that adding an
> indirection in the form of a definition, which would seem to require
> some form of logic (e.g. Fool uses Curry's paradox to establish that e
> is a Yak Master, then creates some Yaks) would change anything.

I'm going to go off on a tangent now from this, but I just realized
something prompted by the above interpretation of if-then statements.

Allow me to quote r217: "A term explicitly defined by the Rules, along
with any of its ordinary-language synonyms not otherwise so defined,
has that meaning when used in any Rule of equal or lesser power, or
when used in a Rule of greater power that is clearly intended to
comply with that meaning.  Otherwise, terms have their
ordinary-language meanings; with definitions contained in
lower-powered Rules providing non-binding guidance."

In no instance is the word "if" defined in the rules. Therefore, it is
clearly something which, in Agora, carries its ordinary rather than
logical meaning. In everyday use, there simply is no formalization of
the truth value of an if-then statement whose first part is false, but
it is normal to expect (but not rely on) the second part being false
also - rather more like a logician's iff than if, in fact - unless
context suggests otherwise. "If you go to the store, bring home some
eggs" is clearly an instruction that doesn't expect any eggs if you
don't go to the store, though it doesn't forbid them. "If you pick any
three of the numbers correctly in Powerball, you win seven dollars"
should be understood as making it pretty clear that you *won't* win
seven dollars if you only match two numbers, and you should also
expect it means won't win seven dollars if you match four. (Matching
two numbers has a payout of $0 or $4 depending on which two they are,
while matching four will get you $100. Yes, that's right, I research
my irrelevant examples!) But, crucially, it's not a promise that those
things are true, merely an expectation. (The statement would not be
rendered false by there being another $7 payout for something else.)

This sounds a lot like it's asserting that "if" means logical if, but
I think instead that if statements are often used to imply iff but in
fact should be interpreted as asserting nothing of relevance to the
world outside them unless the first half is satisfied. That is,
putting something between "if" and "then" makes it a switch that, when
not satisfied, screens the whole sentence off from the rest of the

Suppose we treat the word "if" like lawyers rather than logicians,
such that an if-then statement simply doesn't *do* anything unless the
"if" part is satisfied. If we do that (and note, I'm asserting that
this is not going to tell us anything useful at all unless we do!)
then the following is true:
 - thanks to the rule text Fool intended to press into service
involving "if and only if", P1's destruction is clearly dependent on
P2's in a logical sort of way.
 - P2's destruction condition in a world where P1 CAN be destroyed is
logically dependent on Fool's ability to deregister other players. In
a world where P1 CANNOT be destroyed, P2 makes no particular
assertions about its destruction condition and thus does not have one.

This allows us to constructively figure out the destructibility of the
promises in such a way that assuming a priori that Fool has no prior
ability to deregister players doesn't create a paradox, nor does it
bootstrap em into such an ability. Given that we initially assume no
such ability, P2 CANNOT be destroyed if P1 CAN. (Had Fool specified
what e clearly meant to, and what a logician would readily read into
eir phrasing, that P2 CAN be destroyed if P1 CANNOT, then these
promises would have created a paradox which could only be resolved by
granting em the ability to deregister people. This does not
unambiguously fail to do so, but it can alternately be interpreted as
creating two statements which are effectively mutually
self-referential and create an Epimenides paradox.) Since P1 CANNOT be
destroyed if P2 CANNOT, and P2 has no destruction condition unless P1
can be destroyed, the attempt thus resovles to an unambiguous and
non-paradoxical state where P2 has no destruction condition and thus
CANNOT be destroyed, and P1's condition cannot be satisfied and so it
CANNOT be destroyed either.

I thus see the following possible interpretations of the current
status of these promises:

1. Despite r217's claims to the contrary, "if" does not have its
everyday meaning but its logical one (or it is felt that its everyday
meaning is nearer to its logical one than I consider correct).
Furthermore, Agora runs primarily on logical rather than legal
reasoning. I reject both of those claims, and I think r217 is actually
pretty good evidence that the latter is not the intent of the ruleset
as well as nixing the former. But although I find this interpretation
untenable, I include it for completeness. If this is the case, Fool's
scam succeeds, and omd is not a player. This will be shown to be the
only interpretation where this is so. It should be noted, by the way,
that this is almost certainly the interpretation which would have been
correct had this scam been attempted in any of the recent alleged eras
of B Nomic, and should we ever get a revival, rescue, or sequel going
for that fair game, Fool is encouraged to take part because e would do
well there and enjoy emself.

2. Agora still runs on logical rather than legal reasoning, but "if"
has its everyday meaning and I'm right about what that is. In this
case, Fool's scam fails for the reasons outlined above. But that's not
because e attempted the impossible; eir scam was merely a buggy
interpretation of a sound principle. I find this interpretation
farfetched in the extreme, since in the case where Agora runs on
logical reasoning "if" should probably be interpreted so as to make
the scam succeed. This interpretation is not completely untenable,
however, and for that reason you will find my counterscam below.

3. Agora runs on legal reasoning, but "if" works in a logical manner
anyway. Again, I don't buy this, but I think it's pretty reasonable.
In this case, Fool's promises interact to create an Epimenides paradox
from which one could easily generate a turtle.

4. Agora runs on legal reasoning and my exegesis of "if" above is
entirely correct. In this case, once again, Fool's promises were
slightly buggy, but a better-phrased version would generate a paradox
and allow turtle creation. I believe this to be the correct

In interpretation 1
above, Fool's scam succeeded and I am thus unable to author proposals,
so this is false. In interpretation 2, where Fool's scam is functional
but buggy, there is no such promise anymore, so again, it's false. In
interpretation 3, where Fool's scam creates a paradox, my clone of it
creates the same paradox and this should be UNDECIDABLE; in
interpretation 4, again, Fool's scam tried to create a paradox but
failed to do so, and this one lacks its bugs and therefore is still
UNDECIDABLE. (Note that an UNDECIDABLE judgement doesn't disambiguate
between cases 3 and 4, but it would be useful for Agora to settle that
question anyway through another CFJ.)


Judge's Arguments:

I judge CFJ 3387 FALSE. I can't see a rule that would let you destroy a
promise you don't own by announcement, given that there wasn't notice
given at the appropriate time.