# Re: Help with Lambda Calculus

On Sun, 27 Sep 2009 19:10:35 -0500, rpw3@xxxxxxxx (Rob Warnock) said:

kunjaan <kunjaan@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
...
+---------------
| It is just so counter intuitive.
+---------------

Well, yes. There nothing particularly "intuitive" (or useful!) about
pure lambda calculus. It's just a formalism (a "calculus") that permits
certain axioms to be stated and certain theorems to be proved, especially

In any case treatments of computability need to be based on
something that is _simple_, not necessarily intuitive, so that it is
clear, if not self-evident, that a _machine_ can perform the
respective primitive operations (the reductions in lambda-calculus,
or the application of tape-rewriting and state-changing rules in a
Turing machine, etc.).

...
So if you're studying lambda calculus for a course in computability
why Church numerals are used there -- they just are, because it's

One reason why Church numerals are there is to show that recursive
functions can be implemented on top of lambda-calculus [*], which is
part of the proof of one of the central results of theory of
computability, namely that all known definitions of algorithm are
equivalent (and thus part of the support for the Church-Turing
thesis).

_________
[*] Recursive functions map natural numbers to natural numbers,
therefore a representation of the latter by means of the
constructs of lambda-calculus is needed.

---Vassil.

--
"Even when the muse is posting on Usenet, Alexander Sergeevich?"
.

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