I start my discussion of Kripke’s theory of reference by questioning whether it is necessary that we intend to use a name with the same reference as the person we learned the name from. In at least one simple example, this is neither necessary nor sufficient. Imagine a game were a group of people make up a story by successive members of the group uttering successive sentences of the story. So the first member starts:
(1) A soldier called ‘Alex’ returned from the war.
And the second member goes on
(2) Alex was looking forward to seeing his wife, Jenny, and his daughter Lucy.
And the third continues
(3) Jenny was only eight years old.
Now clearly the third speaker got it wrong. She probably meant to say ‘Lucy’; she meant the daughter, since it is a matter of biology that the wife cannot be eight years old. But her meaning or intentions are irrelevant in any case. For she has successfully used the name ‘Jenny’ with the same reference as the second speaker, and has successfully communicated the proposition that the soldier’s wife was only eight years old, even though she did not intend to use the name that way. What is relevant is not the intention of the speaker, but rather the rules of use of proper names (or other referring terms like pronouns or descriptions), plus an informational background available to both speaker and audience*.
Causation and intention are irrelevant, at least in this particular case. I shall argue in subsequent posts that all the different ways of passing on a reference are reducible to examples such as this one.
*Or an assumed background, which I shall discuss later.