[Tutor] "TypeError: 'int' object is not callable"??

Kent Johnson kent37 at tds.net
Wed Dec 8 18:32:13 CET 2004

A callable is something that can be called with functional notation. It can be a function, a class, 
or in some cases a class instance. In general, any object that has a __call__() special method is 
callable. The callable() built-in tells you if an object is callable, though you can also just try 
it. For example,

the built-in len is callable and has a __call__ attribute:
 >>> callable(len)
 >>> dir(len)
['__call__', ... ]

1 is not callable and does not have a __call__ attribute:
 >>> callable(1)
 >>> dir(1)
[ <a long list that doesn't include __call__>]

As you discovered, trying to call 1 as a function doesn't work:
 >>> 1()
Traceback (most recent call last):
   File "<stdin>", line 1, in ?
TypeError: 'int' object is not callable

A user-defined function is callable and has a __call__ attribute:
 >>> def f(): pass
 >>> callable(f)
 >>> dir(f)
['__call__', ... ]

A class is callable (you call it to create an instance):
 >>> class C:
...   pass
 >>> callable(C)

Instances of a class, in general, are not callable:
 >>> c=C()
 >>> callable(c)

You can make a class whose instances are callable by defining a __call__ method on the class. This 
allows you to make a class whose instances behave like functions, which is sometimes handy. (This 
behaviour is built-in to Python - __call__() is called a special method. There are many special 
methods that let you customize the behaviour of a class.)

 >>> class D:
...   def __call__(self, x):
...     print 'x =', x
 >>> d=D()  # Calling the class creates an instance
 >>> callable(d)
 >>> d(3)  # Calling the instance ends up in the __call__() method of the class
x = 3


Dick Moores wrote:
> I got this error msg for this line of code:
> n = -(2(a**3.0)/27.0 - a*b/3.0 + c)
> (where a = 1, b = 2, c = 3)
> And was baffled until I realized the line should be
> n = -(2*(a**3.0)/27.0 - a*b/3.0 + c)
> But I still don't understand what "callable" means. Can someone help?
> Thanks,
> Dick Moores
> rdm at rcblue.com
> _______________________________________________
> Tutor maillist  -  Tutor at python.org
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/tutor

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