# Types considered harmful

Russell introduced what is often viewed as his most original contribution to mathematical logic: his theory of types—which in essence tries to distinguish between sets, sets of sets, etc. by considering them to be of different “types”, and then restricts how they can be combined. I must say that I consider types to be something of a hack. And indeed I have always felt that the related idea of “data types” has very much served to hold up the long-term development of programming languages. (

Mathematica, for example, gets great flexibility precisely from avoiding the use of types—even if internally it does use something like them to achieve various practical efficiencies.) – Wolfram.