Lambda forms and scoping

Gabriel Genellina gagsl-py2 at
Fri Mar 20 14:03:24 CET 2009

En Fri, 20 Mar 2009 09:28:08 -0300, R. David Murray  
<rdmurray at> escribió:
> Benjamin Peterson <benjamin at> wrote:
>> Márcio Faustino <m.faustino <at>> writes:
>> >
>> > Executing the example below doesn't produce the expected behavior, but
>> > using the commented code does. Is this normal, or is it a problem with
>> > Python? I've tested it with version 2.6.1 on Windows XP.

> Here's the way I find it useful to think about this:
> When your lambda is created in your for loop inside your __init__ method,
> it acquires a pointer to __init__'s local namespace.  (That's how I
> understand what "closure" means in this case, though I imagine "closure"
> probably means something slightly different in computer-science-ese :)

Well, some people would say that the function "closes over" part of its  
environment, but that's the idea.

> So, when any of those lambdas is executed, they all have a pointer to
> the exact same namespace, that of __init__.  And when they are called,
> __init__'s namespace is in whatever state it was left in when __init__
> ended.  In this case, that means that 'option' is pointing to the value
> it had at the _end_ of the for loop.

That's a pretty good explanation -- I would just substitute "pointer" by  

> Hope this helps.  I find that thinking in terms of namespaces helps
> me understand how Python works better than any other mental model
> I've come across.

Good to know! The Python execution model *is* based on namespaces - any  
other mental model won't be accurate past certain point (although some  
people insist...)

Gabriel Genellina

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