THREE MEANINGS OF MEANING
1. In communication by language, as described in the last chapter, what is it that is communicated? What do sentences mean? I am going to make use of the most ordinary terminology and say : Words are used to communicate thoughts; words mean thoughts or successions of thoughts--very often a present thought about something that is absent.
But a ' thought ' is a mental state and is said to have an object. When A communicates a thought to B, what he does is to provoke in B a thought (B's thought, not A's) of the same object as A's. So that the commonsense account must mean : Words are used to provoke in people thoughts of objects of a certain sort--propositions, logical possibilities. For example:
The moon will be full to-night.
Do wait for the full moon!
What a sight the full moon will be to-night!
All these words are used, in different ways, to provoke in hearers a thought of the full moon to-night. What is communicated--or the sake of some purpose--is a proposition. And here we meet again the two sorts of purpose for which words may be used : the words are used to inform, by the communication of propositions; or they are used to moveeither by the communication of propositions or by other means. But very often the same words are used with the two sorts of intention at once.
Informative Intention.-- The sentence "The moon will be