The inheritance of dynamic and deontic integrity constraints or: Does the boss have more rights?

R.J. Wieringa, H. Weigand, J.-J.Ch. Meyer, F.P.M. Dignum

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14 Citations (Scopus)
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In [18,23], we presented a language for the specification of static, dynamic and deontic integrity constraints (IC's) for conceptual models (CM's). An important problem not discussed in that paper is how IC's are inherited in a taxonomic network of types. For example, if students are permitted to perform certain actions under certain preconditions, must we repeat these preconditions when specializing this action for the subtype of graduate students, or are they inherited, and if so, how? For static constraints, this problem is relatively trivial, but for dynamic and deontic constraints, it will turn out that it contains numerous pitfalls, caused by the fact that common sense supplies presuppositions about the structure of IC inheritance that are not warranted by logic. In this paper, we unravel some of these presuppositions and show how to avoid the pitfalls. We first formulate a number of general theorems about the inheritance of necessary and/or sufficient conditions and show that for upward inheritance, a closure assumption is needed. We apply this to dynamic and deontic IC's, where conditions arepreconditions of actions, and show that our common sense is sometimes mistaken about the logical implications of what we have specified. We also show the connection of necessary and sufficient preconditions of actions with the specification of weakest preconditions in programming logic. Finally, we argue that information analysts usually assume constraint completion in the specification of (pre)conditions analogous to predicate completion in Prolog and circumscription in non-monotonic logic. The results are illustrated with numerous examples and compared with other approaches in the literature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-428
Number of pages36
JournalAnnals of mathematics and artificial intelligence
Issue number2-4
Publication statusPublished - 1991


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