The Open UniversitySkip to content

Making sense of description logics

Warren, Paul; Mulholland, Paul; Collins, Trevor and Motta, Enrico (2015). Making sense of description logics. In: Semantics '15: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Semantic Systems, ACM, pp. 49–56.

Full text available as:
Full text not publicly available (Accepted Manuscript)
Due to publisher licensing restrictions, this file is not available for public download
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Description Logics are commonly used for the development of ontologies. Yet they are well-known to present difficulties of comprehension, e.g. when confronted with the justification for a particular entailment during the debugging process. This paper describes a study into the problems experienced in understanding and reasoning with Description Logics. In particular the study looked at: functionality in object properties; negation, disjunction and conjunction in Propositional Logic; negation and quantification; and the combination of two quantifiers. The difficulties experienced are related to theories of reasoning developed by cognitive psychologists, specifically the mental model and relational complexity theories. The study confirmed that problems are experienced with functional object properties and investigated the extent to which these difficulties can be explained by relational complexity theory. Mental model theory was used to explain performance with negation and quantifiers. This suggests that Boolean logic is easier to assimilate in Disjunctive Normal Form than in other forms and that particular difficulties arise when it is necessary to backtrack to form a mental model. On the other hand in certain cases syntactic clues seemed to contribute to reasoning strategies.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Copyright Holders: 2015 Association for Computing Machinery, Inc
ISBN: 1-4503-3462-8, 978-1-4503-3462-4
Keywords: description logics; psychology of reasoning
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Knowledge Media Institute (KMi)
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Research Group: Centre for Research in Computing (CRC)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 44536
Depositing User: Paul Warren
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2015 08:45
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 20:09
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU