Are anonymous type classes the right model at all? (replying to Re: Are fundeps the right model at all?)

Julian Assange
06 Jan 2001 11:29:59 +1100

Peter Douglass <> writes:

> Julian Assange wrote (Dec 28, 2000):
> > This is why all non S-exp like lanaguage are doomed to progressive
> > syntactic cancer as the useful parts of operator name space and syntax
> > space become progressively polluted and mutated by one fad after
> > another.
> Could you expand on this? I would think that all languages have identifies
> that, through common usage become standardized, and that this meaning
> becomes a de-facto part of the language.  Do you feel that this has not
> happened in Lisp/Scheme?

The identifier space in lisp/scheme has wide tree depth and is
(essentially) lexically scoped. Infix operator identifiers in other
languages are the antithesis of this. It could be argued, both fairly
and unfairly, that the verbosity of S-exp bracketing leaves short
identifiers less desirable than they otherwise would be, however
tree-width arguments remain.

Polution of syntax space is a more difficult problem. As new syntactic
axioms are intruded, they should remain consistant with the existing
syntax elements. This poses ever increasing restraint on the evolution
of the language. New syntax elements appear less intuitive and more
arbitary in an attempt to fit in with the morass of ever increasing
restraints. If these restraints are not honnored, the language becomes
inconsistant. Eventually the language is guarenteed to become either
inconsistant or moribund as the number of interactions between
language elements overwhelms a language designers attempts understand

The same is even more true of language semantics. The trouble lays in
finding initial axioms which can cleave large sections of future
concept space between them.

 Julian Assange        |If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people
                       |together to collect wood or assign them tasks and          |work, but rather teach them to long for the endless  |immensity of the sea. -- Antoine de Saint Exupery