[Haskell-cafe] David Turner quote on lisp and FP
sean.leather at gmail.com
Thu Mar 12 06:22:54 UTC 2015
On Thu, Mar 12, 2015 at 6:57 AM, Rustom Mody wrote:
> There is this quote:
> *It needs to be said very firmly that LISP is not a functional language at
> all. My suspicion is that the success of Lisp set back the development of a
> properly functional style of programming by at least ten years.* David
> found here and there on the net
> eg http://dis.4chan.org/read/prog/1376090701
> Does anyone have/know the original reference?
As the 10th entry on my version of Google, I found:
Michael J C Gordon
Programming Language Theory and its Implementation: Applicative and
Gordon provides a more complete version of the quote on p. 148:
Here , for example, is a quotation by David Turner from the discussion
after his paper in the book Mathematical Logic and Programming Languages:
It needs to be said very firmly that LISP, at least as represented by the
dialects in common use, is not a functional language at all. LISP does have
a functional subset, but that is a rather inconvenient programming language
and there exists no significant body of programs written in it. Almost all
serious programming in LISP makes heavy use of side effects and other
referentially opaque features.
I think that the historical importance of LISP is that it was the fi rst
language to provide ‘garbage- collected’ heap storage. This was a very
important step forward. For the development of functional programming ,
however, I feel that the contribution of LISP has been a negative one. My
suspicion is that the success of LISP set back the development of a
properly functional style of programming by at least ten years.
The cited paper for the quote is:
Turner , DA. Functional programs as executable specifications, in Hoare CAR
and Shepherdson JC ( eds.) Mathematical Logic and Programming Languages
Prentice Hall, 1985.
The quote is the discussion for the paper, found on p. 387.
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