I am vexed by the logical structure of Rock/Paper/Scissors (RPS). You see, according to the traditional rules, Rock –> Scissors –> Paper –> Rock.

At first glance one might think that RPS can be expressed in purely logical terms as a hypothetical syllogism looking like this (where (l) = “loses”):

R ⊃ S(l)
S ⊃ P(l)
∴ P ⊃ R(l)

But this is causing me to stumble, because the conclusion doesn’t follow necessarily from the premises. See, if it is the case that if A absolutely defeats B and B absolutely defeats C then it seems natural to think that A must also conquer C by virtue of A’s own relation to B.

R ⊃ S(l)
S ⊃ P(l)
∴ R ⊃ P(l)

Such reasoning, however, assumes that the two given premises antecedent to the conclusion (Rock beats Scissors, Scissors beats Paper) are the only information on the relationship between Rock and Paper available, and that it isn’t a necessary condition of Paper losing that Scissors be present (as opposed to being a merely sufficient condition therefor). This is not the case in RPS, however.

In reality, RPS looks something more like this (where (w) = “wins”):

R ⊃ (S(l) ∨ P(w))
S ⊃ (P(l) ∨ R(w))
∴ P ⊃ (R(l) ∨ S(w))

But this still doesn’t describe the relationship rock, paper, and scissors each have with one another. Why is paper so incredibly powerful as to be able to frustrate the seemingly unstoppable rock!?

It was all made clear this dissertation on the relative power of paper as it concerns the merits of rock’s merely penultimate superiority.

“I understand that scissors can beat paper, and I get how rock can beat scissors, but there’s no fucking way paper can beat rock. Paper is supposed to magically wrap around rock leaving it immobile? Why the hell can’t paper do this to scissors? Screw scissors, why can’t paper do this to people? Why aren’t sheets of college ruled notebook paper constantly suffocating students as they attempt to take notes in class? I’ll tell you why, because paper can’t beat anybody, a rock would tear that shit up in 2 seconds. When I play rock/paper/scissors I always choose rock. Then when somebody claims to have beaten me with their paper I can punch them in the face with my already clenched fist and say, oh shit, I’m sorry I thought paper would protect you, you asshole.”


That is to say, Rock kicks ass! Do not deny the power of ROCK! Screw scissors! Scissors are superfluous and paper is weak. Only Rock may rule!


~ by poǝןɔɐɯ uǝʞɔɐɹq on 21/06/2012.

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