Causal theory of reference  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

(Redirected from Causal theory of names)
Jump to: navigation, search

Related e

Google
Wikipedia
Wiktionary
Wiki Commons
Wikiquote
Wikisource
YouTube
Shop


Featured:
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Enlarge
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A causal theory of reference is a theory of how terms acquire specific referents. Such theories have been used to describe many referring terms, particularly logical terms, proper names, and natural kind terms. In the case of names, for example, a causal theory of reference typically involves the following claims:

  • a name's referent is fixed by an original act of naming (also called a "dubbing" or, by Saul Kripke, an "initial baptism"), whereupon the name becomes a rigid designator of that object.
  • later uses of the name succeed in referring to the referent by being linked to that original act via a causal chain.

Weaker versions of the position (perhaps not properly called "causal theories"), claim merely that, in many cases, events in the causal history of a speaker's use of the term, including when the term was first acquired, must be considered to correctly assign references to the speaker's words.

Causal theories of names became popular during the 1970s, under the influence of work by Saul Kripke and Keith Donnellan. Kripke and Hilary Putnam also defended an analogous causal account of natural kind terms.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Causal theory of reference" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools