Currying, or Schonfinkeling?
Author Message
Currying, or Schonfinkeling?

Even though Sch\"onfinkel invented the idea of treating functions of
many arguments as functions of one argument whose values are functions,
why has it been attributed (atleast indirectly) to H. B. Curry by
calling it "currying"? Does anyone have a historical answer to this?

me a reply or crosspost on the comp.lang.functional or comp.lang.misc
newsgroups.

Nandakumar Sankaran

Computer Science Department
Clemson University, SC 29631
--
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Nandakumar Sankaran, G34 Jordan, Comp. Sci. Dept., Clemson Univ. SC 29634
311-8  Old Greenville Hwy.  Clemson  SC  29631-1651          (803)653-7749

Wed, 28 May 1997 00:44:44 GMT
Currying, or Schonfinkeling?

Quote:

>Even though Sch\"onfinkel invented the idea of treating functions of
>many arguments as functions of one argument whose values are functions,
>why has it been attributed (atleast indirectly) to H. B. Curry by
>calling it "currying"? Does anyone have a historical answer to this?

this might help:

%A H. B. Curry
%T Some philosophical aspects of combinatory logic
%B The Kleene Symposium
%E J. Barwise
%E J. Keisler
%E K. Kunen
%I North Holland
%D 1980
%P 85-101
%K combinatory logic combinator
%X attributes currying to schonfinkel

Lloyd ALLISON
Dept. of Computer Science, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3168, AUSTRALIA

<A HREF="http://www.cs.monash.edu.au/~lloyd/tildeBIB">Bibliography</A>

Thu, 29 May 1997 14:18:08 GMT
Currying, or Schonfinkeling?

Quote:

>Even though Sch\"onfinkel invented the idea of treating functions of
>many arguments as functions of one argument whose values are functions,
>why has it been attributed (atleast indirectly) to H. B. Curry by
>calling it "currying"? Does anyone have a historical answer to this?

Although Curry got the idea from Sch\"onfinkel, it did not originate
with him.  Frege had it before either of them.  Furthermore, Peter
Schroeder-Heister suggested to me (orally, at LICS '93 in Montreal)
that the idea is related to Cantor's treatment of exponientiation of
cardinal numbers.

When Curry first heard his name attached to the idea, he protested
(see his paper in the Kleene Symposium volume).  But his name has
stuck, and I think it is because his name is easier to use as a verb
(at least in English) than the names of the other people responsible
for this idea.

Quote:
> ...
>Nandakumar Sankaran

>Computer Science Department
>Clemson University, SC 29631
>--
>---------------------------------------------------------------------------
>Nandakumar Sankaran, G34 Jordan, Comp. Sci. Dept., Clemson Univ. SC 29634
>311-8  Old Greenville Hwy.  Clemson  SC  29631-1651          (803)653-7749

--
Jonathan P. Seldin

7141 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H4B 1R6

Fri, 30 May 1997 22:45:41 GMT
Currying, or Schonfinkeling?

Quote:

> Even though Sch\"onfinkel invented the idea of treating functions of
> many arguments as functions of one argument whose values are functions,
> why has it been attributed (atleast indirectly) to H. B. Curry by
> calling it "currying"? Does anyone have a historical answer to this?

I think David Turner invented this term.

I've been arguing for years that such functions ought to be called
"schoengefilte"...

--
-- Jack Campin  --  Room 1.36, Dept. of Computing & EE, Heriot-Watt University,
Riccarton, Edinburgh EH14 4AS   WWW: http://www.cee.hw.ac.uk/~jack/jack.html

Fri, 30 May 1997 22:12:26 GMT
Currying, or Schonfinkeling?

Quote:
Nandakumar Sankaran writes:

> Even though Sch\"onfinkel invented the idea of treating functions
> of many arguments as functions of one argument whose values are
> functions, why has it been attributed (atleast indirectly) to
> H. B. Curry by calling it "currying"? Does anyone have a historical

Just an anecdotical remark:
I've heard somebody in Germany tried to introduce "sch\"onen" for currying
and "finkeln" for "uncurrying".  The verb "sch\"onen" means
"to beautify"; "finkeln" isn't a German word, but acoustically
it has a bit the flavour of "to fiddle".
--
Stefan Kahrs

Fri, 30 May 1997 22:26:21 GMT
Currying, or Schonfinkeling?

Quote:

>Even though Sch\"onfinkel invented the idea of treating functions of
>many arguments as functions of one argument whose values are functions,
>why has it been attributed (atleast indirectly) to H. B. Curry by
>calling it "currying"? Does anyone have a historical answer to this?

The first statement above is a widely repeated fallacy.
Schoenfinkel did *not* invent the idea, although he did publish
a generation before Schoenfinkel.  Look in Frege's "Function and Concept":

Gottlob Frege.
{\em Collected Papers}, chapter Function and Concept, pages 137--156.
Basil Blackwell, Jena, 1984 edition, 1891.
Translated by Peter Geach, edited by Brian McGuinness.

In the above edition, it's clear from pages pages 153--156,
but if you have another edition it won't be hard there either...

I'm not completely sure who first published the idea,
but I would hazard Frege as a safe bet, as his paper cited above
is right at the start of the mathematical discipline in which the
idea of currying (or should we say "Frege-ing"?) can be concieved.

Gary Leavens
--
229 Atanasoff Hall, Department of Computer Science

phone: (515)294-1580 fax: (515)294-0258 ftp site: ftp.cs.iastate.edu
URL: http://www.cs.iastate.edu/~leavens/homepage.html

Sun, 01 Jun 1997 03:09:24 GMT
Currying, or Schonfinkeling?

: >Even though Sch\"onfinkel invented the idea of treating functions of
: >many arguments as functions of one argument whose values are functions,
: >why has it been attributed (atleast indirectly) to H. B. Curry by
: >calling it "currying"? Does anyone have a historical answer to this?

: Although Curry got the idea from Sch\"onfinkel, it did not originate
: with him.  Frege had it before either of them.  Furthermore, Peter
: Schroeder-Heister suggested to me (orally, at LICS '93 in Montreal)
: that the idea is related to Cantor's treatment of exponientiation of
: cardinal numbers.

: When Curry first heard his name attached to the idea, he protested
: (see his paper in the Kleene Symposium volume).  But his name has
: stuck, and I think it is because his name is easier to use as a verb
: (at least in English) than the names of the other people responsible
: for this idea.

In English "curry" (in some spellings) *is* a verb, you can curry cloth,
and curry favor.  But their is a definite flavor to curried food:-)

Memes catch on when there is a receptor for them in people's heads.

--

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Sun, 01 Jun 1997 03:54:55 GMT
Currying, or Schonfinkeling?

Quote:

>: Although Curry got the idea from Sch\"onfinkel, it did not originate
>: with him.  Frege had it before either of them.  Furthermore, Peter
>: Schroeder-Heister suggested to me (orally, at LICS '93 in Montreal)
>: that the idea is related to Cantor's treatment of exponientiation of
>: cardinal numbers.

I don't think that it is correct to say the Frege had the idea before
either Curry or Sch\"onfinkel.  Dummett in his big book {\it Frege:
Philosophy of Language\/} argues that Frege did not think that functions
could have values which themselves are functions.  Others, including
myself have argued against this (see, eg, my forthcoming article On the
Interpretation of Incomplete Expressions'' in {\it Logique et Analyse\/}),
but it is clear that if Frege did accept such functions it was only
in a small number of cases---nothing like a wholesale acceptance
of currying'' can be atributed to him.

Antoni Diller

Sun, 01 Jun 1997 19:26:30 GMT
Currying, or Schonfinkeling?

....

Quote:
>> Even though Sch\"onfinkel invented the idea of treating functions of
>> many arguments as functions of one argument whose values are functions,
>> why has it been attributed (atleast indirectly) to H. B. Curry by
>> calling it "currying"? Does anyone have a historical answer to this?

>I think David Turner invented this term.

No, I got the term from the  late  Christopher  Strachey  (Professor  of
Computation  at Oxford England, died, circa 1975).  As far as I am aware
he invented the term "currying" - in his lecture  notes  on  programming
languages  written circa 1967 (and he also remarked that it ought really
to be called Schoenfinkeling...)

David Turner

Sun, 01 Jun 1997 22:24:55 GMT
Currying, or Schonfinkeling?
For what it's worth, the J language docs have abandoned the use of the
jargon "Curry" for the common english term "bond".

--

1=t|e*d    NB. (,-:<:)pq is four large primes, e medium

Mon, 02 Jun 1997 08:01:25 GMT
Currying, or Schonfinkeling?

: > Even though Sch\"onfinkel invented the idea of treating functions of
: > many arguments as functions of one argument whose values are functions,
: > why has it been attributed (atleast indirectly) to H. B. Curry by
: > calling it "currying"? Does anyone have a historical answer to this?

: I think David Turner invented this term. ...

As a related topic:

When I was an undergraduate, one of my lecturers in pure mathematics happy
transformed a topological example from f:AxB->C to f:A->B->C without comment.
We told him this was called Currying by the computer scientists. He fell
about laughing. Then he pointed out Cantor's stuff: the first one is
represented by          the second by        and they're equal 'cos of
AxB                    B A
C                       C
the exponentiation formulae.

Cheers,
James Picton-Warlow

Wed, 04 Jun 1997 10:28:34 GMT
Currying, or Schonfinkeling?

Quote:

>>: Although Curry got the idea from Sch\"onfinkel, it did not originate
>>: with him.  Frege had it before either of them.  Furthermore, Peter
>>: Schroeder-Heister suggested to me (orally, at LICS '93 in Montreal)
>>: that the idea is related to Cantor's treatment of exponientiation of
>>: cardinal numbers.

>I don't think that it is correct to say the Frege had the idea before
>either Curry or Sch\"onfinkel.  Dummett in his big book {\it Frege:
>Philosophy of Language\/} argues that Frege did not think that functions
>could have values which themselves are functions.  Others, including
>myself have argued against this (see, eg, my forthcoming article On the
>Interpretation of Incomplete Expressions'' in {\it Logique et Analyse\/}),
>but it is clear that if Frege did accept such functions it was only
>in a small number of cases---nothing like a wholesale acceptance
>of currying'' can be atributed to him.

I'm no expert in Frege's thinking, and it sounds like Antoni Diller is.
primary sources before reaching conclusions in such matters.
So I recommend to those interested to take the trouble
to read at least pages 153-156 (in the following edition) of the following.
I think you'll see at least inspiration for Schoenfinkel's work there...

Gottlob Frege.
{\em Collected Papers}, chapter Function and Concept, pages 137--156.
Basil Blackwell, Jena, 1984 edition, 1891.
Translated by Peter Geach, edited by Brian McGuinness.

If I'm misinterpreting this passage, I'd be happy to know about it.
I suppose it's possible that what Frege intended is different than what
a modern computer scientist would read into what he wrote.

Gary Leavens

--
229 Atanasoff Hall, Department of Computer Science

phone: (515)294-1580 fax: (515)294-0258 ftp site: ftp.cs.iastate.edu
URL: http://www.cs.iastate.edu/~leavens/homepage.html

Sat, 07 Jun 1997 02:17:07 GMT
Currying, or Schonfinkeling?

Quote:

>>Even though Sch\"onfinkel invented the idea of treating functions of
>>many arguments as functions of one argument whose values are functions,
>>why has it been attributed (atleast indirectly) to H. B. Curry by
>>calling it "currying"? Does anyone have a historical answer to this?

This is a fine example of Stigler's law of Eponymy: nothing is ever named
after the person who discovers it first.

Quote:
>Although Curry got the idea from Sch\"onfinkel, it did not originate
>with him.  Frege had it before either of them.  Furthermore, Peter
>Schroeder-Heister suggested to me (orally, at LICS '93 in Montreal)
>that the idea is related to Cantor's treatment of exponientiation of
>cardinal numbers.

See?
--

Astronomy Department
San Diego State University
San Diego CA 92182-0540

Mon, 09 Jun 1997 14:10:55 GMT
Currying, or Schonfinkeling?

Quote:
>This is a fine example of Stigler's law of Eponymy: nothing is ever named
>after the person who discovers it first.

So?----don't keep us waiting!  Who discovered Stigler's Law?

--
Roland Hutchinson                               Visiting Specialist/Early Music

Tue, 10 Jun 1997 04:45:35 GMT

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