On the Knoldus blog, Siddhant describes pure and impure functions:
As we can see, a value is pure, if it conforms very strictly to its type. In case of
pureFunctionValue the declared type said that it was a function which takes an Int and returns a String, and that was indeed what it did. It could take an Int and it gave us back a reference to a String value and did nothing else.
In case of
impureFunctionValue the declared type said that it was a function which takes an Int and returns a String. Indeed we could feed it an Int, but when we did so, it did something else apart from returning us a String. It printed stuff out to the console. This, friends, was not expressed in the type, thus it is a side-effect of the function and thus the value in question is impure, and not exactly a function in the mathematical sense.
Pure functions are great because they’re easy to reason about: you have an input, you have an output, and you can guarantee that nothing else changes in between. Impure functions are great because if we only had pure functions, our programs would add zero value. Impure functions drive I/O, including the ability to see what those pure functions did. The trick in functional programming is to push as much logic into the pure space as possible, making it easier to focus on the impure space and make sure you didn’t goof up there.