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Type/token distinction

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-X044-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved April 12, 2024, from

Article Summary

The type/token distinction is related to that between universals and particulars. C.S. Peirce introduced the terms ‘type’ and ‘token’, and illustrated the distinction by pointing to two senses of ‘word’: in one, there is only one word ‘the’ in the English language; in the other, there are numerous words ‘the’ on the physical page you are now looking at. The latter are spatiotemporal objects composed of ink; they are said to be word tokens of the former, which is said to be the word type and is abstract. Phonemes, letters and sentences also come in types and tokens.

Citing this article:
Wetzel, Linda. Type/token distinction, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-X044-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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