§40. Let us first discuss this point of the argument: that a word has no meaning if nothing corresponds to it.—It is important to note that the word "meaning" is being used illicitly if it is used to signify the thing that 'corresponds' to the word. That is to confound the meaning of a name with the bearer of the name. When Mr. N. N. dies one says that the bearer of the name dies, not that the meaning dies. And it would be nonsensical to say that, for if the name ceased to have meaning it would make no sense to say "Mr. N. N. is dead."

ELUCIDATION

 

  1. In the Tractatus this problem is avoided, for the bottom level of language, by the bold stratagem of proposing that the atomic parts of language refer to simples which must exist, necessarily. This ensures that the terms can retain their meaning.