[Haskell-cafe] why the name lambda calculus?

KC kc1956 at gmail.com
Mon Aug 22 15:38:38 CEST 2011

Definition of "calculus"

a : a method of computation or calculation in a special notation (as
of logic or symbolic logic)

b : the mathematical methods comprising differential and integral
calculus —often used with the

So a "calculus" means more than differentiation and integration it can
also mean a system of symbols that can be "mechanistically" modified;
algorithmically modified if you prefer.

Lambda abstraction was probably chosen in case someone found better
abstractions; e.g. epsilon, delta, gamma, beta, alpha, ... :)

Or Joel Spolsky's "leaky abstractions". :D

On Sun, Aug 21, 2011 at 9:37 AM, C K Kashyap <ckkashyap at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi,
> Can someone please tell me what is the root of the name lambda calculus? Is
> it just because of the symbol lambda that is used?
> Why not alpha or beta calculus?
> Regards,
> Kashyap
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