[Haskell-cafe] Looking for a paper [Dijkstra-Dot]

Anthony Clayden anthony_clayden at clear.net.nz
Sun Jun 7 11:28:50 UTC 2020

>> On 6/5/20 7:05 AM, Anthony Clayden wrote:


>>* Also it doesn't seem to know Haskellers very well; nor Dijkstra's
*>>* well-known support for Haskell in education.
*>> >>* There's other bits and pieces of 'Publications' on that the-magus site;
*>>* including spoofs of Dijkstra which can't even spell his first name
*>>* right. I rather suspect the ewd.pdf is a spoof that didn't turn out very
*>>* funny. So altogether it's a couple of dudes shooting the breeze.
> These all seem pretty irrelevant to the point being made, which I think
> has merit.

(See my prev post about its lack of merit.)

No Haskeller I've ever come across would accuse Dijkstra of
"stick[ing] to the antiquated imperative paradigm".

Dijkstra advocated teaching Haskell as an antidote to imperativism.

EWD1300 is advocating for his own 'notational conventions', chiefly
for writing math and formalising proofs.

I don't see anything very specific to programming languages; certainly
nothing specific to any paradigm.

The pdf (words imputed to 'Haskeller') doesn't understand 'first-class':

The term dates back to Strachey 1967; it's to do with semantics of
names; what in a FP context we'd call 'referential transparency'. It
has nothing to do with syntax. Column 2 of page 1 is bogus.

Even if 'Haskeller' didn't know that CompSci archaeology, they'd
certainly know the ($) operator. Whether or not it's the most
important operator, there _is_ an operator and it is first-class.

'Haskeller' gets several answers wrong at the top of p2; finally gets
to $ and gets that wrong too:

EWD's question re `length $ [] = 0` is not a way to define `length`.
Any Haskell beginner could stick that into an actual Haskell compiler
and see why.

Towards the bottom of p2 EWD admits "I do not know your Haskell very
well ...". I'd say this faux-Haskeller knows Haskell less well than

Just before that admission is another piece of bogus notation for
operator sections of `x * y`. None of that appears in EWD1300.

> This is all just a language design curiosity to me, though,
> and I'm not looking to start a new religious war until some of the
> present ones are resolved.

Well, don't look for pointers to language design from the couple of
jokers portrayed in that pdf.

I find it actually insulting to the good sense the real Dijkstra
always showed; and insulting to Haskellers -- what's with all this
gratuitous imputing of emotion? What's with just getting Haskell
wrong? It's easy to check those claims; it's easy to get the (alleged)
'thought' peer-reviewed from the Haskell community.

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