On Types and Words

Peirce illustrated the type-token distinction by means of the definite article: there is only one word type “the,” but there are likely to be about twenty tokens of it on this page. Not all tokens are inscriptions; some are sounds, whispered or shouted, and some are smoke signals. The type “the” is neither written ink nor spoken sound; it is an abstract object. Or consider the Grizzly Bear, Ursus arctos horribilis. At one time its U.S. range was most of the area west of the Missouri River and it numbered 10,000 in California alone. Today it numbers less than 1,000. Of course no particular bear numbers 1,000 and no particular bear ever had a range comprising most of the area west of the Missouri. It is a type of bear, a species of bear, that has both properties.We are all familiar with this way of talking about types of things. But—aside from being universals—what are types? What makes a token of one type rather than another? How do we know it is a token of that type? Do some types fail to have tokens? What, if anything, do all and only tokens of a particular type have in common other than being tokens of that type? The first half of the paper answers the last question (“Nothing beyond being a token of the type”). The second half contains sketches of answers to the other questions
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 1053-8364
DOI 10.5840/jpr_2002_34
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,422
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

45 ( #107,825 of 1,924,770 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #211,945 of 1,924,770 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.