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More on the Unique Name Assumption (UNA), because Andrew answered on it, with further arguments. He quotes Paul: " The initial problem was cardinality and OWL Flight attempts to solve the problem with cardinality. Paul put it succinctly: "So what is the point of statements with the owl:minCardinality predicate? They can't ever be false, so they don't tell you anything! It's kind of like a belt and braces when your belt is unbreakable." "

Again I disagree, this time to Paul: the minimal cardinality axiom does make sense. For what, they ask - well, for saying that there is a minimal cardinality on this relation. Yeah, you are right: this is an axiom which hardly can lead to an inconsisten ontology. But so what? You nevertheless can cut down the number of possible models with it and get more information out of the ontology.

"I would agree - this was my main problem - how do you explain to Joe (and Andrew) that all his CDs are the same rather than different."

That's turning around the argument. If the reasoner would claim that all of Joes CDs are the same, he would be doing a grave mistake. But so would he if he would claim that all are different: the point is, he just doesn't know. Without having someone to state sameness or difference explicitly, well, you can't know.

"I did comment that the resolution, local unique names using AllDifferent, didn't actually seem to solve the problem well enough (without consideration for scalability for example)."

I am not sure why that should be. It seems that Andrew would be happy if there was a file-wide switch claiming "If I use different URIs here I mean different objects. This file makes the UNA." These files would easily be translated to standard OWL files, but there would be less clutter inside (actually, everything that would need to be done is adding an axiom of allDifferent with all the names of the file).

"I have a feeling that context is a better solution to this problem (that might just be my golden hammer though)."

I don't understand this one, maybe Andrew will elaborate a bit on this.

If you imagine an environment with axioms floating around, from repository to repository, being crawled, collected, filtered, mapped and combined, you must not make the Unique Name Assumption. If you remain in your own personal knowledge base, you can embrace UNA. And everything you need between is one more axiom.

Is it that bad?

Originally published on Semantic Nodix

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Andrew Newman
11 April 2005 20:58:00