Daniel Lepage on Mon, 4 Dec 2006 12:28:37 -0700 (MST)

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Re: [s-d] [s-b] Amended proposal: Legal Mode

On Dec 4, 2006, at 1:47 PM, shadowfirebird@xxxxxxxxx wrote:

>> I suppose I mostly don't like the fuzziness of the word  
>> 'pertaining'...
> I can change that.
>> What's wrong with the simpler approach of only allowing game actions
>> permitted by the rules?
> Nothing.  Especially if you see Nomic as a game in the same way that
> scrabble is a game.  Although I wonder if it might make the game a
> little limiting and end up with us having much longer, more specific
> rules.
> Neither is there anything wrong with treating - as Suber did - Nomic
> as a model of the legal system, where everything is permitted unless
> it says so in the rules.  I wonder - again, only wonder, as a newbie -
> whether this might be more interesting, at least to me.

It boils down to whether you look at the rules as defining a world or  
governing it.

In a real legal system, the players *are* governed by a set of  
absolute prohibitions, namely the laws of physics. A real legal  
system generally permits its "players" to do anything they can under  
the laws of physics, except for actions that the legal system defines  
as illegal.

By contrast, our game objects have no law except for the rules of the  
game. The nature and properties of game objects are set entirely by  
what the rules say. So if we're going to have points, and subgames,  
and other "gamelike" phenomena, then the rules in charge of those  
have to be "physical laws", that is, rules that lay out *exactly*  
what is permitted, and nothing more.

If we instead wanted to govern a system of real-world objects, or  
objects subject to some other "physical law", then we could make use  
of Suber's "lawlike" permissibility. This would work if, for example,  
you were playing Suber's game as he originally designed it, as a face  
to face game played with index cards and sheets of paper.

Note also that a real legal system doesn't control anything itself. A  
law can't say "A car exists here" and simply cause a car to be there.  
All a law can do is say, perhaps, "If person X doesn't put a car  
here, then he should go jail". Even that relies on other people  
following the law and taking person X to jail if e doesn't get a car.

In a virtual game such as our nomic, however, if a rule says "There  
exists a car", then the car 'exists' as much as anything else in the  
game does.

What might be interesting would be to break the rules into two  
categories, the "physical laws" and the "governmental laws", where  
the first lays out exactly what players can or cannot do, and the  
second provides punishments, incentives, etc.

However, you'd still need some sort of special power given to the  
governmental laws, because otherwise we could all simply choose not  
to follow them.


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