Encyclopedia > Self-reference

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A self-reference occurs when a statement refers to itself. Reference is possible when there are two logical levels, a level and a meta-level. It is most commonly used in mathematics, philosophy, computer programming, and linguistics. Self-referential statements can lead to paradoxes.

An example of a self-reference situation is the one of autopo´esis, as the logical organisation produces itself the physical structure which create itself.


  • pentasyllabic (a word which describes itself)
  • This statement is short.
  • "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation," yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation. (This is a version of the liar paradox, an example of indirect self-reference leading to a paradox.)
  • "See self-reference" in this article. This is also called a self-link. Sometimes this is done on purpose for technical reasons.

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