Re: Strawman DAML+OIL Query Language Proposal

From: Peter F. Patel-Schneider (
Date: 09/07/01

I agree with Pat's points here.  I would rather have had effort spent on
semantics, analysis of reasoning, and examples.


From: pat hayes <>
Subject: Re: Strawman DAML+OIL Query Language Proposal
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2001 07:51:31 -0700

> >Richard Fikes wrote:
> > >
> > > As I mentioned yesterday in the telecon, a student of mine, Yulin Li,
> > > and I have designed a simple language for querying DAML+OIL knowledge
> > > bases.  The language is specified as a DAML+OIL ontology so that both
> > > queries and the results obtained from asking a query are represented in
> > > DAML+OIL.
> >
> >I appreciate the effort of specifying the language as a DAML+OIL
> >ontology.
> Well, I wonder what the point of this effort was, and would like to 
> raise this as an issue for discussion. It seems to me to be:
> (a) completely pointless, in the strict sense that it provides no 
> useful functionality or understanding of the language (ie the query 
> language) to describe its syntax in DAML+OIL as opposed to, say, BNF. 
> All that this enables a hypothetical DAML reasoner to do is to parse 
> the expressions of the query language. Using an ontology language for 
> parsing seems a very poor design decision; at the least, one that 
> should be discussed on its merits rather than simply assumed to be 
> somehow a Good Thing.
> (b) actively misleading, in the sense that it suggests that the 
> purpose of DAML+OIL is to be a syntax specification language, which 
> as far as I was aware wasn't ever even close to the intended goal of 
> the project;
> (c) based on a basic misapprehension about the nature of descriptive 
> languages, in that part of the very idea of a *syntactic* 
> specification is that it describes domains of recursively defined 
> finite entities to which results such as the second recursion theorem 
> apply, whereas descriptive (assertional) languages like DAML+OIL (and 
> RDF and FOL) have an extensional semantics which is (because of 
> Goedel incompleteness) inherently unable to fully capture the notion 
> of finiteness or recursion.

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