Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Chomsky on static typing

Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

- Noam Chomsky, Syntactic Structures


  1. In art school a philosopher of art once told me that though it was fashionable to say that "anything can be art" somethings are simply not. As as an example he offered, "for instance, the idea of the contents of my stomach last Thursday". I've actually found this idea, that someone might try to proffer up as Art, the (idea of) the contents of their stomach last Thursday, a great deal more compelling than a lot of the conceptual art canon.

    Similarly, Chomsky introduced this sentence as an example of (iirc) a syntactically correct statement that is semantically nonsense. But to me it's always seemed like a kind of synesthetic poetry.

  2. But wrt types, at work the lingua franca is Ruby and I've been feeling increasingly that even though a static type system wouldn't protect me from writing nonsense, at least it would be syntactically and type correct nonsense.

  3. Great quote from John Carmack on the benefits of static types:

    "Everything that is syntactically legal -- that the compiler will accept -- will eventually wind up in your codebase." --