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Ok, so something can be self-referencing.

"This sentence contains thirty-eight letters."


"This is not a pipe."

The Treachery Of Images (1928-29) by René Magritte depicts a pipe along with text stating "This is not a pipe."

But what is "doing that" called?

Along the lines of how self-deprecating is self-deprecation.

Thought maybe… self-referenciation, but that doesn't seem to exist. How ironic.

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I actually don't think this is self- de referencing- This is just a self-reference, and doing that is called 'making a self-reference', and things that do it are described as 'self-referential' –  Jim May 6 '12 at 5:22
@jwpat7 I edited the question, as you're right.. The actual question I was asking changed between writing the "subject" and the "body" resulting in a bit of a befuddled mess. So Jim. the idea, i guess then, would be the noun form of actively being self-referential. –  alex gray May 6 '12 at 5:30
@alexgray I guess I'd call that self-referral –  Jim May 6 '12 at 6:10
noun: self-reference; verb: self-reference; adjective: self-referential; adverb: self-referentially. –  Peter Shor May 6 '12 at 12:07

2 Answers 2

The OED's definition of self-reference includes a mention of propositions and paradoxes, making it especially apt for your two examples:

Reference to oneself or itself; the direction of one's attention at oneself, esp. in forming a comparative assessment of one's characteristics or experience; spec. in Philos., the characteristic or quality of referring to itself contained in certain paradoxes, propositions, or statements.

To answer your question, then, I guess the act of self-reference is called a self-reference.

My favorite self-referencing paradox goes something like this:

enter image description here

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The term you're looking for is self-reference.

"This is a sentence."
Ah, I like it when an example makes a self-reference.

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This is a comment. (I enjoy self-references as well.) –  J.R. May 6 '12 at 9:55

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