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In metaphysics, a type is a category of being. Human is a type of thing; cloud is a type of thing (entity); and so on. A particular instance of a type is called a token of that thing; so Socrates was a token of a human being, but is not any longer since he is dead. Likewise, the capital A in this sentence is a token of the first letter of the Latin alphabet.

Much has been made of the type-token distinction by some philosophers, including Charles Sanders Peirce, who coined it as part of a three-way tone-token-type distinction. In recent years, the distinction has been used by philosophers of mind such as Donald Davidson to clarify many ideas about identity theory and other physicalist theories of consciousness.

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