Modality of Business Rules

Modality of Business Rules

Terry Halpin (Neumont University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-927-4.ch008


A business domain is typically subject to various business rules. In practice, these rules may be of different modalities (e.g., alethic and deontic). Alethic rules impose necessities, which cannot, even in principle, be violated by the business. Deontic rules impose obligations, which may be violated, even though they ought not to be. Conceptual modeling approaches typically confine their specification of constraints to alethic rules. This chapter discusses one way to model deontic rules, especially those of a static nature. A formalization based on modal operators is provided, and some challenging semantic issues are examined from both logical and pragmatic perspectives. Because of its richer semantics, the main graphic notation used is that of object-role modeling (ORM). However, the main ideas could be adapted for UML and ER as well. A basic implementation of the proposed approach has been prototyped in Neumont ORM Architect (NORMA), a software tool that supports automated verbalization of both alethic and deontic rules.

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