Institutions regulate societies. Comprising Searle's constitutive counts-as rules, “A counts-as B in context C”, an institution ascribes from brute and institutional facts (As), a social reality comprising institutional facts (Bs) conditional on the social reality (contexts Cs). When brute facts change an institution evolves from one social reality to the next. Rule changes are also regulated by rule-modifying counts-as rules ascribing rule change in the past/present/future (e.g. a majority rule change vote counts-as a rule change). Determining rule change legality is difficult, since changing counts-as rules both alters and is conditional on the social reality, and in some cases hypothetical rule-change effects (e.g. not retroactively criminalising people). However, without a rigorous account of rule change ascriptions, AI agents cannot support humans in understanding the laws imposed on them. Moreover, advances in automated governance design for socio-technical systems, are limited by agents' ability to understand how and when to enact institutional changes. Consequently, we answer “when do rule changes count-as legal rule changes?” in a temporal setting with a novel formal framework.
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