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  1. Dec 2023
    1. In Smalltalk, we say that each object decides for itself how it responds to a message. This is called polymorphism. The same message selector may be sent to objects of different Classes. The shape (morph) of the computation is different depending on the specific class of the many (poly) possible classes of the object receiving the message.

      My math background made me realize that each object could have several algebras associated with it, and there could be families of these, and that these would be very very useful. The term "polymorphism" was imposed much later (I think by Peter Wegner) and it isn't quite valid, since it really comes from the nomenclature of functions, and I wanted quite a bit more than functions. I made up a term "genericity" for dealing with generic behaviors in a quasi-algebraic form.

      —Alan Kay Clarification of "object-oriented", email reply to Stefan Ram