Assertion

Short Description

An Assertion is a declaration/statement that is made by one specific party (which we refer to as its owner)1. Such a statement may or may not reflect what that party holds or knows to be true - parties may lie.

The simplest kind of assertions come in the form ('subject', 'predicate', 'object'). For example, the triple ('John', 'is married to', 'Jill') says 'John is married to Jill'. Note that 'subject', 'predicate' and 'object' are all identifiers or other representations of the knowledge to the assertion's owner, and may not be dereferenceable in other contexts.

Purpose

The ability to distinguish between assertions and non-assertions, and particularly to know its owner, is prerequisite for properly interpreting it (to establish its meaning), determining its trustworthiness, deciding whether or not to (re)act, and if so, what that reaction would be.

Criterion

An Assertion is any declaration/statement that is made by one specific party.

Notes

  • Assertions may be ambiguous (multi-interpretable), which may result in misundertandings. The authoritative meaning of an assertion is determined by (the semantics that was applied by) the party that has uttered/authored it.
  • Assertions may or may not be true. That is not only because 'truth' is subjective (every party may decide whether or not something is true), but also because the party that uttered/authored the assertion cannot substantiate the assertion, or lie outright.
  • Assertions may contain identifiers; the assertion's owner is the authoritative party for dereferencing such identitiers.
  • The entity about which the assertion/claim is made, is often referred to as the 'subject' of the assertion. However, the word 'subject' is also used in conjunction with the term credential, in which case it is ambiguous because a credential may contain multiple assertions about different entities (subjects).


  1. we postulate that 'Nature' is the jurisdiction in which the associated ownership relation exists; so one might also call this 'natural ownership'.