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Re: Inference for error checking [was Re: How to avoid that collections "break" relationships]

From: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2014 22:42:02 -0500
Cc: Markus Lanthaler <markus.lanthaler@gmx.net>, public-hydra@w3.org, "Peter F. Patel-Schneider" <pfpschneider@gmail.com>, "'public-lod@w3.org' (public-lod@w3.org)" <public-lod@w3.org>, W3C Web Schemas Task Force <public-vocabs@w3.org>, Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Message-Id: <E18F0DE2-0332-48FF-9872-065561DC708E@ihmc.us>
To: David Booth <david@dbooth.org>

On Mar 31, 2014, at 10:31 AM, David Booth <david@dbooth.org> wrote:

> On 03/30/2014 03:13 AM, Pat Hayes wrote:
>> [ , . . ]
> > What follows from knowing that
>> ppp schema:domainIncludes ccc . ?
>> Suppose you know this and you also know that
>> x ppp y .
>> Can you infer x rdf:type ccc? I presume not, since the domain might
>> include other stuff outside ccc. So, what *can* be inferred about the
>> relationship between x and ccc ? As far as I can see, nothing can be
>> inferred. If I am wrong, please enlighten me. But if I am right, what
>> possible utility is there in even making a schema:domainIncludes
>> assertion?
>> If "inference" is too strong, let me weaken my question: what
>> possible utility **in any way whatsoever** is provided by knowing
>> that schema:domainIncludes holds between ppp and ccc? What software
>> can do what with this, that it could not do as well without this?
> I think I can answer this question quite easily, as I have seen it come up before in discussions of logic.
> ...

> Note that this categorization typically relies on making a closed world assumption (CWA), which is common for an application to make for a particular purpose -- especially error checking.

Yes, of course. If you make the CWA with the information you have, then 

ppp schema:domainIncludes ccc .

has exactly the same entailments as 

ppp rdfs:domain ccc .

has in RDFS without the CWA. But that, of course, begs the question. If you are going to rely on the CWA, then (a) you are violating the basic assumptions of all Web notations and (b) you are using a fundamentally different semantics. And see below.

None of this has anything to do with a distinction between entailment and error checking, by the way. Your hypothetical three-way classification task uses the same meanings of the RDF as any other entailment task would.

> In this example, let us suppose that to pass, the object of every predicate must be in the "Known Domain" of that predicate, where the Known Domain is the union of all declared schema:domainIncludes classes for that predicate.   (Note the CWA here.)
> Given this error checking objective, if a system is given the facts:
>  x ppp y .
>  y a ccc .
> then without also knowing that "ppp schema:domainIncludes ccc", the system may not be able to determine that these statements should be considered Passed or Failed: the result may be Indeterminate.  But if the system is also told that
>  ppp schema:domainIncludes ccc .
> then it can safely categorize these statements as Passed (within the limits of this error checking).

Why? [ y a cc . ] does not follow from this assertion and the x ppp y, so this looks like an Indeterminate to me. Even with the CWA applied to ppp, your check here is extremely risky. In fact, I could invoke Gricean reasoning to conclude that the domain of ppp **almost certainly must** include something outside ccc; because if not, why did whoever wrote this use the more cautious schema:domainIncludes rather than the simpler and more direct rdfs:domain? Indeed, isnt the ubiquity of the OWA in Web reasoning the only justification for having a construct like schema:domainIncludes at all? Why else was it invented, if not to allow for further information to make the domain larger?

> Thus, although schema:domainIncludes does not enable any new entailments under the open world assumption (OWA), it *does* enable some useful error checking inference under the closed world assumption (CWA), by enabling a shift from Indeterminate to Passed or Failed.

I would not want any important decision to rest on such an extremely flaky foundation as this. 

> If anyone is concerned that this use of the CWA violates the spirit of RDF, which indeed is based on the OWA (for *very* good reason), please bear in mind that almost every application makes the CWA at some point, to do its job.

Um, bullshit. But in any case, even if it were true, the important thing is to know when to invoke the CWA. Assuming that you know all the domain, when you have been told explicitly that you probably have not been told all of it, is a very bad heuristic for invoking the CWA. 


> David

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Received on Thursday, 3 April 2014 03:42:22 UTC

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