Why can't I xor strings?

Alex Martelli aleaxit at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 11 16:35:17 CEST 2004


Grant Edwards <grante at visi.com> wrote:

> On 2004-10-11, Alex Martelli <aleaxit at yahoo.com> wrote:
> > Grant Edwards <grante at visi.com> wrote:
> >    ...
> >> Probably so, but that doesn't support the arguement that
> >> there's something wrong with a logical xor argument coercing
> >> it's operands to boolean values unless one also argues that
> >> the logical "and", "or" and "not" operators should also not
> >> coerce their operands to booleans.
> >
> > One of the greatest sources of usefulness for 'and' and 'or' is exactly
> > that these operators _don't_ coerce their operands
> 
> Surely they must coerce the operands for the "test" part if not
> for the "return" part.

We may have different conceptions about the meaning of the word
"coerce", perhaps...?  For example, Python may be doing len(x) when I
use x in a boolean context, but I sure don't see computing len(x) as
"coercing" anything.  To me, Coercion, in Python, is what's documented
at <http://docs.python.org/ref/coercion-rules.html> and is quite a
different concept from Truth Value Testing, which is documented at
<http://docs.python.org/lib/truth.html>.


Alex



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