[Haskell-cafe] Re: cabal: other-modules

Casey McCann syntaxglitch at gmail.com
Thu Apr 15 11:35:36 EDT 2010

On Thu, Apr 15, 2010 at 10:45 AM, Dougal Stanton
<dougal at dougalstanton.net> wrote:
> 'Morally' seems just the perfect word for this occasion --- concerned
> with right or proper conduct. In this case, potential discrepancies
> between the files that cabal 'knows' about when issuing different
> commands; or the sense of deceit when it 'appears' to work only for
> faults to appear further down the line.

Beyond that, there are long established traditions in some parts of
programming and mathematics for using ethical/moral terms to describe
qualities that go beyond just technical requirements or correctness;
this program should do the Right Thing, that bit of code is "evil",
and so on. Actually defining this "moral sense" is difficult, though,
and it varies somewhat from one person to another, but there seems to
be at least some common, shared understanding. It's about "should" and
"proper" instead of "is" or "must". Personally, I know I've written
code that I'd feel guilty about even if it worked perfectly and no one
else ever saw it--what else would you call that feeling?

>From another angle, here's an example of explicit moral terminology
applied to mathematics: http://www.cheng.staff.shef.ac.uk/morality/
The mathematical sense there is slightly different from the
programming sense, I think, but there seems to be some crossover. For
instance, I've gotten the impression that something like a
mathematical "moral sense" underlies much of the interest in
programming language semantics, FRP, and dependently-typed languages,
though I don't know if the people involved would necessarily call it

- C.

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