Causal theory of reference

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A causal Theory of reference or historical chain Theory of reference is a philisophical Theory of how terms acquire specific referents based on evidence. 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: β€’ a name's referent is fixed by an original act of naming, whereupon the name becomes a rigid designator of that object. β€’ 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, 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.