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Total Functional Programming
 Journal of Universal Computer Science
, 2004
"... We now define the notion, already discussed, of an effectively calculable function of positive integers by identifying it with the notion of a recursive function of positive integers (or of a lambdadefinable function of positive integers). The phrase in parentheses refers to the apparatus which Chur ..."
Abstract

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We now define the notion, already discussed, of an effectively calculable function of positive integers by identifying it with the notion of a recursive function of positive integers (or of a lambdadefinable function of positive integers). The phrase in parentheses refers to the apparatus which Church had developed to investigate this and other problems in the foundations of mathematics: the calculus of lambda conversion. Both the Thesis and the lambda calculus have been of seminal influence on the development of Computing Science. The main subject of this article is the lambda calculus but I will begin with a brief sketch of the emergence of the Thesis. The epistemological status of Church’s Thesis is not immediately clear from the above quotation and remains a matter of debate, as is explored in other papers of this volume. My own view, which I will state but not elaborate here, is that the thesis is empirical because it relies for its significance on a claim about what can be calculated by mechanisms. This becomes clearer in