Token-Reflexive Words Versus Proper Names

  • Tadeusz Czeżowski
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 119)


Token-reflexive words (the term originates with H. Reichenbach, Elements of Symbolic Logic, 1947; B. Russell’s term was ‘egocentric particulars’, cf. his Human Knowledge, Its Scope and Limits, 1948; the problem seems to have been first taken up by E. Husserl in his Logische Untersuchungen, Vol. II, 1901, where the term used is ‘okkasionelle Ausdrücke’), like the personal pronouns ‘T’, ‘you’, the demonstrative pronouns ‘this’, ‘that’, the time and place indicators ‘now’, ‘today’, ‘here’, etc., are names which change their respective meanings according to who utters them and under what circumstances. Hence they are mainly used to denote certain objects temporarily, during the utterance of a given sentence, even though they may be used repeatedly and even regularly to denote one and the same object; for example, a person regularly uses the pronoun T whenever he refers to himself. We link them with the denoted object by indicating that object in various ways (linguists call them ostensive or deictic names), and hence they are singular names. But if we denote a certain object at a certain moment by a given token-reflexive name, this does not preclude our using the same name, at some other moment, to denote some other object, not identical with the former. It is as if a token-reflexive name, lacking a constant meaning of its own, acquires one only temporarily and as it were derivatively as a result of the indication, by its user, of its designatum.


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  1. 1.
    Cf. H. Reichenbach, op. cit., Sec. 50, pp. 284ff.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The original has grammatical, and not lexical sense, but the author’s intention seems to have been to refer to words as lexical items before introducing the terms ‘token’ and ‘type’. (Tr.)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The translation has been simplified, since ‘type’ and ‘token’ are now standard terms in English-language works on semiotics, and their use does not require special explanations. (Tr.)Google Scholar

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© PWN — Polish Scientific Publishers — Warszawa 1979

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  • Tadeusz Czeżowski

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