Right-making and Reference

American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (3):277-80 (2012)
The following is a prominent version of the causal theory of reference, held by certain moral philosophers and philosophers of science: -/- (CTR) A general term 'T' rigidly designates a property F iff the use of 'T' by competent users of the term is causally regulated by F. -/- In a series of papers, Terence Horgan and Mark Timmons present a thought experiment our intuitive responses to which provide evidence against (CTR). The present essay goes beyond Horgan and Timmons by offering a metaphysical argument, according to which (CTR) implies the denial of any normative ethical theory.
Keywords reference  causal theory of reference  moral terms  semantics
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