The Principles of Mathematics (1903)

§ 476

Meaning and indication. The distinction between meaning (Sinn) and indication (Bedeutung)[114] is roughly, though not exactly, equivalent to my distinction between a concept as such and what the concept denotes (§ 96). Frege did not possess this distinction in the first two of the works under consideration (the Begriffschrift and the Grundlagen der Arithmetik); it appears first in BuG. (cf. p. 198), and is specially dealt with in SuB. Before making the distinction, he thought that identity has to do with the names of objects (Bs. p. 13): A is identical with B means, he says, that the sign A and the sign B have the same signification (Bs. p. 15)--a definition which, verbally at least, suffers from circularity. But later he explains identity in much the same way as it was explained in § 64. Identity, he says, calls for reflection owing to questions which attach to it and are not quite easy to answer. Is it a relation? A relation between Gegenstände? or between names or signs of Gegenstände? (SuB. p. 25). We must distinguish, he says, the meaning, in which is contained the way of being given, from what is indicated (from the Bedeutung). Thus the evening star and the morning star have the same indication, but not the same meaning. A word ordinarily stands for its indication; if we wish to speak of its meaning, wem ust use inverted commas or some such device (pp. 27-8). The indication of a proper name is the object which it indicates; the presentation which goes with it is quite subjective; between the two lies the meaning, which is not subjective and yet is not the object (p. 30). A proper name expresses its meaning, and indicates its indication (p. 31).(§ 476 ¶ 1)

This theory of indication is more sweeping and general than mine, as appears from the fact that every proper name is supposed to have the two sides. It seems to me that only such proper names as are derived from concepts by means of the can be said to have meaning, and that such words as John merely indicate without meaning. If one allows, as I do, that concepts can be objects and have proper names, it seems fairly evident that their proper names, as a rule, will indicate them without having any distinct meaning; but the opposite view, though it leads to an endless regress, does not appear to be logically impossible. The further discussion of this point must be postponed until we come to Frege's theory of Begriffe.(§ 476 ¶ 2)

§ 476 n. 1. I do not translate Bedeutung by denotation, because this word has a technical meaning different from Frege's, and also because bedeuten, for him, is not quite the same as denoting for me.