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This is the context:

...object of self-reference: 1) a sentence that negates its own truth. 2) an event that negates its own existence...

The topic is about the concept of self-reference in philosophy. the author is making conclusions about the topic with a table and one of the columns is titled: "object of self-reference." Is this like object of thought or object of knowledge or object of mind, etc.?

If it is, can I say that object of self-reference means:

The thing that makes the following self-referential?

  • 2
    As is standard in sentence grammar, subject is that which acts, object is that which it acts upon. In this case, the action is reference, and the object (as well as the subject) of self-reference both refers and is referred to, because it refers to itself. Subject/object are merely placeholders, nothing whatsoever is assumed about their nature, language simply provides a template to be filled as desired. It can be linguistic, like a sentence, or abstract, like a thought, or embodied, like an event, anything that can refer and be referred. Object of self-reference is an it referring to itself. – Conifold Jun 30 at 5:16
  • @Conifold So it is completely grammatical and it is not about object and subject in the philosophical sense? – Daruis soli Jul 1 at 0:30
  • That is my guess, but to be sure I'd have to see the text you took this quote from. – Conifold Jul 1 at 0:40
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Wikipedia has this to say about self-reference:

Self-reference occurs in natural or formal languages when a sentence, idea or formula refers to itself.

The question has to do with what "object of" means in the following context:

...object of self-reference: 1) a sentence that negates its own truth. 2) an event that negates its own existence...

Since a self-referential sentence refers to itself, the object of the self-reference is the sentence itself. The subject of the self-reference would also be the sentence itself.

To put self-reference in perspective, Wikipedia continues:

Self-reference is studied and has applications in mathematics, philosophy, computer programming, and linguistics. Self-referential statements are sometimes paradoxical, and can also be considered recursive.

It is worth noting that self-referential sentences are only "sometimes paradoxical" and can be useful in recursive algorithms where a subprogram has a line of code that calls itself.


The OP asks:

If it is, can I say that object of self-reference means:

The thing that makes the following self-referential?

For a self-referential sentence the thing that makes it self-referential is the sentence itself.


Wikipedia contributors. (2019, June 9). Self-reference. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 13:15, June 30, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Self-reference&oldid=901142171

  • thank you very much. but still, I have trouble understanding it. are we using "object of" like grammatically? because I searched a lot but saw different definitions. one of them was that object of self-reference means: what is the product/result of self-reference. another one was that things that belong to self-reference; like this sentence: "objects of most fundamental concepts of Morality that is seen as values and rights have objective existence. " – Daruis soli Jun 30 at 16:42
  • (I should note that 1) these definitions weren't for self-reference but for other kinds of "object of" like object of mind, object of knowledge or object of understanding and 2) I am not a native speaker). in addition, you didn't address the similarity between object of self-reference and concepts like object of intuition or object of knowledge. – Daruis soli Jun 30 at 16:42
  • another one is "the thing that self-reference is acting upon." – Daruis soli Jun 30 at 17:42

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