§39. But why does it occur to one to want to make precisely this word ['this'] into a name, when it evidently is not a name?—That is just the reason. [1] For one is tempted to make an objection against what is ordinarily called a name. It can be put like this: a name ought really to signify a simple [2]. And for this one might perhaps give the following reasons: The word "Excalibur", say, is a proper name in the ordinary sense. The sword Excalibur consists of parts combined in a particular way. If they are combined differently Excalibur does not exist. But it is clear that the sentence "Excalibur has a sharp blade" makes sense whether Excalibur is still whole or is broken up. But if "Excalibur" is the name of an object, this object no longer exists when Excalibur is broken in pieces; and as no object would then correspond to the name it would have no meaning. But then the sentence "Excalibur has a sharp blade" would contain a word that had no meaning, and hence the sentence would be nonsense. But it does make sense; so there must always be something corresponding to the words of which it consists. So the word "Excalibur" must disappear when the sense is analysed and its place be taken by words which name simples. It will be reasonable to call these words 'the real names'.[3]

ELUCIDATION

  1. It is a good thing that it is evidently not a name, because words that evidently are names are fraught with well-known problems - running, for example, through Frege ("The present King of France is bald"!) to Russell.
  2. Here is his Tractatus, which will now be his target for many sections.
  3. Apparently "reasonable", but actually quite wrong.