Causal theories of reference
This is the wikipedia account of the causal theory of reference
- 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
- VR: As you can see the theory is not fully naturalistic. It still leaves the "initial baptism" as an unreduced intentional act. And even the selection of causal chains seems to proceed in relation to our interests.