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Subject: OFF: Concurring Opinion in CFJ 861: Chuck and elJefe
Precedence: bulk
Status: RO

                   CONCURRING OPINION IN CFJ 861

  "Rule 1600 should be interpreted such that its condition for
   self-repeal can never be fulfilled, as long as the Rules themselves
   can be changed."


Judge:          Swann
Judgement:      FALSE

Caller:         Kelly
Barred:         Morendil, Vanyel, Doug
On Hold:        Blob, Doug

Eligible:       Andre, Chuck, Coren, dcuman, elJefe, favor, 
                Ghost, Greycell, Jtael, Kelly, KoJen, Michael, 
                Murphy, Steve, Swann,  Zefram

Archivist, please file.


  Called by Kelly, Thu, 7 Mar 96 16:43:28 EST5
  Assigned to Swann, Thu, 7 Mar 96 14:03:59 PST
  Judged FALSE by Swann, Thu, 7 Mar 1996 20:16:11 -0500
  Concurring opinion (appended) by Chuck and elJefe, 9 Mar 1996

Argument (Kelly):

I contend that as long as the Rules are subject to change, it is never
the case that the Game State is such that a given Judgement cannot be
overturned.  Even if the Rules as they presently exist leave no
further avenue of appeal by which a given Judgement might be
overturned, as long as the Rules can be changed, then a Rule might be
adopted that would open a further avenue of appeal, or even overturn
the Judgement directly.  Hence, as long as the Rules can be changed,
no Judgement is absolutely immune to being overturned.


Rule 1600/0 (Mutable, MI=1)
Standard Mathematics

      Except where the Rules explicitly state otherwise, any
      mathematical term in the Rules shall be construed to have the
      definition usually given to it in standard mathematics.  In
      particular,  "number" shall mean  "real number."

      If a Judgment is made to the effect that the provisions of the
      first two sentences of this Rule would govern play even in the
      absence of this Rule, and the Game State is such that that
      Judgment cannot be overturned, then this Rule automatically
      repeals itself.

Created by Proposal 2495, Feb. 16 1996

Decision of Judge Swann:  FALSE

I admit that Kelly has made a logical argument that, on its face, is
reasonable and hard to assail.  But just as arguments about word 
meanings in a prior CFJ, I believe kelly's point of view suffers from
a focus that avoids the broader implications of her argument.
In fact, I believe that kelly was misled by the clause "the Game
State is such," whis is essentially prefretory and meaningless.  (In 
the Judges opinion the Rule's meaning would be exactly the same if the
phrase was stricken from the Rule.)

Reduced to essentials, Rule 1600 says something equivelent to:

"If X cannot happen, then Y will occur."

Kelly's argument, reduced to essentials is:

"If the Rules can change, X can always occur."

In the case of 1600, the Statement can be argued to make a certian amount
of sense.  But the essential flaw of Kelly's argument is illuminated when
we take as an example another Rule of clear meaning, that uses the same
generic construction as 1600:

>From 1456:

     "If a Party cannot fulfill the Terms of the Contract because to
      do so would  conflict with the Rules, e is required to Breach
      the Contract and must suffer the penalties for a Breach."

First off, this is obviously the same construction as the language in 1600.
The flaw here is obvious.  Kelly has assumed that the phrase "X cannot happen"
provides a continuing universal phrohibition-- which with a changable ruleset
can never apply-- when Rules of this construction are much more limited in

Kelly is reading, "If X can never ever happen as long as Agora exists. . ."
When the Rule says, "If X cannot happen at a specific point in time. . ."

In the cases of both these Rules, the point in time is obviously the
first point at which X cannot occur.  In the specific case of 1600, the Rule
shall repeal itself as soon as there exists a moment when the Judicial
decision in question cannot be appealed-- the possibility of future amendments
to the Ruleset shant save it, since it will already be gone.

I find the statement, therefore, FALSE.

Sponsors: Chuck, elJefe

We believe that Judge Swann's Judgement of FALSE on CFJ
861 is correct, but we do not agree with his reasons.

CFJ 861 is trivially false, in that it is simple to
imagine an evolution of Nomic in which some of the
Rules are changeable and others immune to change, and
those immune to change always take precedence over those
which are changeable.  There are already games, in fact, in
which the Rules are changeable, except for a central core
of Rules which may not be changed; the card game Mao
is one of these.  In such a case, one can imagine a game
(whether it can be called a Nomic is a question of semantics)
in which some of the Rules can be changed, but the unchangeable
Rules prevent a Judgement from being overturned.

Suber raises the question of whether any Rule can ever be made
truly immutable; but we believe that that is more a question of
practicality rather than theoretical possibility.