Any-World Assumptions in Logic Programming

Journal of Theoretical Computer Science, 2005

Due to the usual incompleteness of information representation, any approach to assign a semantics to logic programs has to rely on a default assumption on the missing information. The stable model semantics, that has become the dominating approach to give semantics to logic programs, relies on the Closed World Assumption (CWA), which asserts that by default the truth of an atom is false. There is a second well-known assumption, called Open World Assumption (OWA), which asserts that the truth of the atoms is supposed to be unknown by default. However, the CWA, the OWA and the combination of them are extremal, though important, assumptions over a large variety of possible assumptions on the truth of the atoms, whenever the truth is taken from an arbitrary truth space.

The topic of this paper is to allow any assignment (i.e.interpretation), over a truth space, to be a default assumption. Our main result is that our extension is conservative in the sense that under the ``everywhere false" default assumption (CWA) the usual stable model semantics is captured. Due to the generality and the purely algebraic nature of our approach, it abstracts from the particular formalism of choice and the results may be applied in other contexts as well.