Gödel’s Loophole

Enrique Guerra-Pujol

University of Central Florida; Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico

August 1, 2012

Capital University Law Review, vol. 41 (2013), pp. 637-673

The mathematician and philosopher Kurt Gödel reportedly discovered a deep logical contradiction in the US Constitution. What was it? In this paper, the author revisits the story of Gödel’s discovery and identifies one particular “design defect” in the Constitution that qualifies as a “Gödelian” design defect. In summary, Gödel’s loophole is that the amendment procedures set forth in Article V self-apply to the constitutional statements in Article V themselves, including the entrenchment clauses in Article V. Furthermore, not only may Article V itself be amended, but it may also be amended in a downward direction (i.e., through an “anti-entrenchment” amendment making it easier to amend the Constitution). Lastly, the Gödelian problem of self-amendment or anti-entrenchment is unsolvable. In addition, the author identifies some “non-Gödelian” flaws or “design defects” in the Constitution and explains why most of these miscellaneous design defects are non-Gödelian or non-logical flaws.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 37

Keywords: Gödel, Gödelian design defects, constitutional statements, self-amendment, entrenchment, anti-entrenchment clauses

JEL Classification: H77, K49

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Date posted: February 23, 2012 ; Last revised: December 18, 2013

Suggested Citation

Guerra-Pujol, Enrique, Gödel’s Loophole (August 1, 2012). Capital University Law Review, vol. 41 (2013), pp. 637-673. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2010183 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2010183

Contact Information

Enrique Guerra-Pujol (Contact Author)
University of Central Florida ( email )
Orlando, FL 32816
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.priorprobability.com
Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico ( email )
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