Friday, February 23, 2007

3.144 One can describe states of things, but not name them.

(Names are like points, whereas propositions, having sense, are like arrows.)

In mathematics and, I think, in German, ‘sense’ (Sinn) can mean direction, as well as meaning.

Is “name” being implicitly defined here as a word that applies to simples only? If so, is the only “impossibility” implied by the first sentence of 3.144 a definitional one, a logical one?


N. N. said...

I think Black is instructive here:

"The non-verbal counterpart of a contingently true statement (a fact) cannot be designated, either by a name or by a description in Russell's sense. For assume, as Wittgenstein did, that every name, simple or complex, must have what he later called a 'bearer' (Investigations, §40), i.e. something that actually exists. If a whole sentence were a name (as Frege thought), it could not have a meaning unless the corresponding bearer existed, i.e., unless there were a corresponding fact." (Companion, 33)

In other words, a name is of an object, i.e., that's just what it is to be a name. If states of affairs were nameable, then they would (per impossible) be complex objects. Given that objects necessarily exist, if sentences were complex names of complex objects, then every sentence would be necessarily true.

DR said...

Thanks, I think that is helpful.