[Haskell-cafe] Re: [Haskell] Re: 20 years ago

Benjamin L.Russell DekuDekuplex at Yahoo.com
Wed Jul 15 01:25:15 EDT 2009

On Tue, 14 Jul 2009 12:36:02 +0200, Ketil Malde <ketil at malde.org>

>[redirected from haskell@]
>Benjamin L.Russell <DekuDekuplex at Yahoo.com> writes:
>>> One often amusing outgrowth of this is that FP (OOP) fanatics anthropomorphize
>>> their functions (objects).
>Well, I don't think we do.
>Functions are just mappings of values to values, they may be opaque,
>but they're predictable, unchanging, and just...too boring to be
>Objects contain all kinds of hidden state and dependencies, and the
>sheer unpredicatability of it all is the reason for the
>anthropomorphics - it a symptom of a disease, not a desirable

Although I don't necessary agree with your choice of the term, I find
it interesting that you should use the biological term "disease";
according to a post [1] entitled "Re: Re: Smalltalk Data Structures
and Algorithms," by K. K. Subramaniam, dated "Mon, 29 Jun 2009
11:25:34 +0530," on the squeak-beginners mailing list (see
>Concepts in Squeak [a dialect and implementation of Smalltalk] have
their origins 
>in biology rather than in computational math.... See the reading list at
>particularly "The Selfish Gene" by Richard Dawkins.

It's an interesting coincidence that you should hit upon the term
"disease," which also derives from biology.

It's not just "the sheer unpredictability of it all" that is "the
reason for the anthropomorphics"; it is the fundamental difference of
the basis in biology vs. computational mathematics.  Haskell (and FP)
derive from the latter; Smalltalk (and OOP) derive from the former.

Biological structures also contain "all kinds of hidden state and
dependencies"; in that sense, objects are similar to biological
structures, and are more easily anthromorphized on that account.
Functional programming functions, on the other hand, are not similar
to biological structures, and hence are not easily anthromorphized;
instead, they are similar to mathematical functions.

I wouldn't necessarily say that "anthromorphics ... [is] a symptom of
a disease," though.  Anthromorphics simply uses terms from biology,
from which concepts in Squeak (and the OO paradigm thereof) derive.
The closest counterpart for Haskell that I can think of is the puzzle
game "Alligator Eggs!" [2] (see http://worrydream.com/AlligatorEggs/),
by Bret Victor, which draws an analogy between various behaviors of
alligators and operations in the lambda calculus--a collection of
"allomorphisms," perhaps?

-- Benjamin L. Russell

[1] Subramaniam, K. K. "Re: Re: Smalltalk Data Structures and
Algorithms." The Beginners Archives. Squeak.org. 29 June 2009. 15 July

[2] Victor, Bret. "Alligator Eggs!" _Bret Victor's website._ Bret
Victor. 11 May 2007. 15 July 2009.
Benjamin L. Russell  /   DekuDekuplex at Yahoo dot com
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