[Haskell-cafe] David Turner quote on lisp and FP

Andrew Butterfield Andrew.Butterfield at scss.tcd.ie
Thu Mar 12 09:43:18 UTC 2015

The 1986 IFIP World Congress was held in Trinity College Dublin in 1986, when I was a young postgrad.
John McCarthy was one of the many distinguished speakers that visited at that time.

I was writing a "silicon compiler" as a DSL in a strict subset of ML, and was keen to understand these (for me, new/strange) functional languages a little better. So I asked him was the use of the LAMBDA notation in Lisp because the language was functional, or was it just a convenient notation for anonymous functions?  His answer was short and very definitive: he said it was a convenient notation - he didn't consider LISP to be a functional language.


> On 12 Mar 2015, at 04:57, Rustom Mody <rustompmody at gmail.com> 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 Turner
> found here and there on the net 
> eg http://dis.4chan.org/read/prog/1376090701 <http://dis.4chan.org/read/prog/1376090701>
> Does anyone have/know the original reference?
> Thanks
> Rusi
> -- 
> http://blog.languager.org <http://blog.languager.org/>
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Andrew Butterfield
School of Computer Science & Statistics
Trinity College
Dublin 2, Ireland

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