more from Charles Chihara

Single Idea 9547

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

Full Idea

Causal theories of reference seem doomed to failure for the case of reference to mathematical entities, since such entities are evidently causally inert.

Gist of Idea

Mathematical entities are causally inert, so the causal theory of reference won't work for them


Charles Chihara (A Structural Account of Mathematics [2004], 01.3)

Book Reference

Chihara,Charles: 'A Structural Account of Mathematics' [OUP 2004], p.16

A Reaction

Presumably you could baptise a fictional entity such as 'Polonius', and initiate a social causal chain, with a tradition of reference. You could baptise a baby in absentia.