Compliance checking in the Semantic Web: an RDF-based conflict-tolerant version of the Deontic Traditional Scheme

Tracking #: 3667-4881

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Livio Robaldo
Gian Luca Pozzato

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Sabrina Kirrane

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This paper presents a new computational ontology that implements the well-known Deontic Traditional Scheme in RDFs. The ontology includes SPARQL rules that allow for inferences on states of affairs encoded in terms of the RDFs resources in the ontology’s vocabulary. The result is a novel framework for representing norms in the Semantic Web, towards further developments in disciplines aiming at checking compliance on Big Data with respect to the in-force regulations. On the other hand, in our view this paper also represents a significant advancement in standard theoretical research in formal Deontic Logic, in that most contemporary approaches from this literature are limited to the propositional level and focus on modelling obligations only. Conversely, the proposed computational ontology formalizes all deontic modalities defined in the Deontic Traditional Scheme, while providing constructs and executable rules to model and reason with different types of conflicts, violations, and the interplay between deontic modalities and the contextual constraints holding in the state of affairs. The computational ontology was designed by integrating contributions from three different research strands, which have been investigated almost independently in past literature: (1) LegalTech solutions compatible with the RDF format, in particular the work in [1], (2) Natural Language Semantics via reification, in particular the work in [2], and (3) conflict-tolerant accounts in formal Deontic Logic, in particular the work in [3]. All examples presented and discussed in this paper, together with Java code and clear instructions to re-execute them locally, are available at
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