how can I get the name of a variable (or other object)?

JCM joshway_without_spam at
Thu Jul 22 19:39:15 CEST 2004

Grant Edwards <grante at> wrote:
>> The Python documentation talks about variables.  Personally I
>> think that's a fine name for the scoped binding between an
>> identifier and a value.

> But it's not a binding between an identifier and a value.  It's
> a binding between an identifier and an _object_.  For immutable
> objects, it's a moot point, but for mutable objects, there are
> some real-world programming consequences.

I consider the values to be references to objects.  But as you say...

> I think it's very confusing to people who were taught that a
> variable is a named region of storage in which a value
> (possibley of one specific type) could be stored. I think that
> referring to a Python name/object pair as "a variable" is
> perpetuating a fundamental misunderstanding of what's really
> going on.

> If we want to refer to Python "variables" then I think the
> "value" of a "variable" should be always be referred to as "a
> pointer to an object".

> I'm probably being overly pedantic, but I've seen a lot of
> confusing amongst new Python programs due to their view of
> python name bindings as "variables" in the traditional sense of
> the word.

It's really just about terminology.  Personally I'd find it confusing
if I were new to Python and heard someone say that Python has
bindings-of-some-sort, but not variables.  My background is compilers
and programming language semantics, so maybe I'm also just being
overly pedantic.

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