Type-token distinction


Type-token distinction

The type versus token distinction separates an abstract concept from the objects which are particular instances of the concept. For example, the particular bicycle in your garage is a token of the type of thing known as "The bicycle." Whereas, the bicycle in your garage is in a particular place at a particular time, that is not true of "the bicycle" as used in the sentence: "The bicycle" has become more popular recently." In logic, the distinction is used to clarify the meaning of symbols of formal languages.

Types are abstract objects. They do not exist anywhere in particular because they are not physical objects. Types may have many tokens. However, types are not directly producible as tokens are. You may, for instance, show someone the bicycle in your garage, but you cannot show someone "The bicycle." Tokens always exist at a particular place and time and may be shown to exist as a concrete physical object.

See

* Metalogic
* Formalism
* Type theory
* Type (metaphysics)
* Type physicalism

External links

* [http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/types-tokens/ "Types and Tokens" in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy]


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