Types and tokens

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2008)
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Abstract

The distinction between a type and its tokens is a useful metaphysical distinction. In §1 it is explained what it is, and what it is not. Its importance and wide applicability in linguistics, philosophy, science and everyday life are briefly surveyed in §2. Whether types are universals is discussed in §3. §4 discusses some other suggestions for what types are, both generally and specifically. Is a type the sets of its tokens? What exactly is a word, a symphony, a species? §5 asks what a token is. §6 considers the relation between types and their tokens. Do the type and all its tokens share the same properties? Must all the tokens be alike in some or all respects? §7 explains some problems for the view that types exist, and some problems for the view that they don't. §8 elucidates a distinction often confused with the type-token distinction, that between a type (or token) and an occurrence of it. It also discusses some problems that occurrences might be thought to give rise to, and one way to resolve them

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Linda Wetzel
Georgetown University

Citations of this work

An Ontology of Words.Nurbay Irmak - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (5):1139-1158.
Software is an abstract artifact.Nurbay Irmak - 2012 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 86 (1):55-72.
Words, Species, and Kinds.J. T. M. Miller - 2021 - Metaphysics 4 (1):18–31.

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References found in this work

The meaning of 'meaning'.Hilary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
Ethics without principles.Jonathan Dancy - 2004 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Reason, Truth and History.Hilary Putnam - 1981 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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