axioms and (not) changing a language

From: Peter F. Patel-Schneider (
Date: 02/20/01

There was a comment during today's teleconference to the effect that an
extension to DAML+OIL would be trivial as long as there was a (KIF)
axiomatization for it.  This belief seemed to spring from the fact that
there is a KIF axiomatization for DAML+OIL.

This is decidedly not the case.  Extending DAML+OIL by adding axioms to the
axiomatization is a very dangerous endeavour.  Some extra axioms can be
accommodated, and will not change the characteristics of DAML+OIL.  Others,
although seemingly innocuous, would drastically change DAML+OIL.
Determining just what changes will be made by a particular set of extra
axioms is extremely difficult.

To illustrate this point, consider RDF(S).  RDF(S) has a KIF
axiomatization.  One could argue, as above, that extending RDF(S) by a
collection of extra axioms is trivial.  

However, suppose that we extend RDF(S) by the DAML+OIL axioms.  We now end
up with a very different kind of representation language, with very
different characteristics.


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