Single Idea 14215

[catalogued under 19. Language / B. Reference / 3. Direct Reference / b. Causal reference]

Full Idea

Whatever happens in special cases, causal theories usually make it easy to be wrong about the thing we refer to.

Gist of Idea

Causal theories of reference make errors in reference easy


David Lewis (Putnam's Paradox [1984], 'What Is')

Book Reference

Lewis,David: 'Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology' [CUP 1999], p.77

A Reaction

I suppose the point of this is that there are no checks and balances to keep reference in focus, but just a requirement to keep connected to an increasingly attenuated causal chain.